I had a dream...
Fifteen years ago, I spent two years in Burkina Faso and fell inlove with the country and its people. I promised myself to return there one day and settle in order to take part in the promotion of an elite proud of its roots and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
During my stay I dreamt that pauverty and corruption were not a fatality, that a quality education was not accessible to an elite only, that the young Burkinabé could be proud of their culture and that they had the potentiel to invent their own model of development. I had the dream that this youth could believe in itself and not expect everything from the West. I nourrished and matured this dream during all these years…
In 2008 I decided to make this dream come true. My family and I moved to Burkina Faso and I looked for a place that was fit for a school campus and dormitories. Ziniaré was my choice. Located 20 miles away from the capital, Ouagadougou, it is a medium sized city (about 70’000 inhabitants) who’se importance has not ceased to grow since its promotion to the capital of the region. We have been kindly welcomed by the authorities, as only 12% of the students in age of being in 6th grade are in school. We acquired a land of 3 acres hoping to build a middle school, a high school, i.e. 16 classrooms, two computer rooms, a library, a laboratory, a building for the administration, four dorms with a sanitary complexe, and a multisport field…
To this day, my dream is starting to become reality. There is still, however, a long way to go as the construction of the campus will continue for the next ten years or so.
Unlike most projects in Africa, we precisely chose to build a school of excellency. The goal is to create a new generation capable of being in charge of the future of their country. A new generation that has received a solid education based on not only quality teaching, but also on strong moral and ethical values. We truly want to be a part of the creation of a youth that will impact its generation and influence the development of its country.
In order to do that, we gave priority to social mixity to bring up a generation of solidarity, far from the usual social cleavages. The students are recruited based on academic results and motivation. They are chosen after a written test and an interview. Therefore, part of the students are from the highest social class, and come from the capital. Another part are externs from the middle class of Ziniaré and its region. Finally, thanks to sponsorships, a third part comes from isolated villages and represents the rural class, i.e. the most disadvantaged. However, they all have the hope of a social promotion and are conscious of their potential and the efforts necessary to make their hope become reality, for them and for their country. This ambition teaches us patience. This is why we only recruit students in 6th Grade. There is no recruiting beyond (exceptional cases left aside), and we bring up our students until the “Brevet” (9th Grade) and then the Baccalaureat. They are placed in optimum conditions, with a limited number of students per class, functional classes and equipment, and with teachers motivated by this challenge.
Our choice was quickly supported by our results. After two years of existence, our students of 6 and 7th Grade obtained brilliant results: 87% of success. They took part in the reputation of the MLK School as they obtained the best results out of the 54 schools of the region. We are already part of the best schools of the country!