York volunteer Cat Baker learns about international poverty first-hand in Burkina Faso

York Press: Cat Baker working as a volunteer in Burkina Faso Cat Baker working as a volunteer in Burkina Faso

A WOMAN from York has learned first-hand about international poverty by volunteering in one of the poorest countries in the world, writes Kezia Buckley.

Cat Baker, who is 22 and a former Fulford Sixth Form pupil, spent three months working with a Government-funded scheme at Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Cat volunteered with the York-based charity International Service, which specialises in sending development workers to help small non-government organisations in marginalised communities working with disabled people, young people and women, in the capital city of Ouagadougou.

Cat, who recently graduated from the University of Bristol, said: “I wanted to go abroad and learn more about poverty, as well as experience a life completely different to my own.

“Meeting the partners was the scariest part; I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to speak to anyone. I previously volunteered in Madagascar, but this project was totally different.

“Instead of completing a set task, like building a school, you are helping the charity’s long-term goals, by helping develop their organisation and promote what they do.”

The organisations she worked with included Handicap Solidiare Burkina (HSB), a disability rights organisation, and Tigoung Nonma, a collective of disabled artisans.

Cat said the scheme had allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties faced by some people in Burkina Faso.

She said: “I saw with my own eyes some of the huge issues affecting disabled people living in one of the poorest countries in the world.

“Working in HSB’s school for disabled children and seeing the conditions in which they and their families live was the most challenging thing.

“It was deeply shocking to see the situation they were living in.

“They are not allowed to enter certain public places and the roads and facilities there are terrible so access is a big issue. Every aspect of life is really difficult for them.”

For more details on the trip, or to find out about signing up to volunteer, go to hsburkina.tumblr.com.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:25am Tue 30 Apr 13

Guy Fawkes says...

Cat said the scheme had allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties faced by some people in Burkina Faso.


Namely that Blaise Compaoré and his cronies would make Amin and Mugabe look like Albert Schweitzer. A government that siphons off most of the country's GDP into the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling elite, that jails and/or executes anyone that disagrees with it ... the usual story, sadly. The only way you're going to be able to make any progress in places like that is by the method described in Frederick Forsyth's 'The Dogs of War' : not a politically correct view to hold, granted, but if you look at the relatively few African countries that have managed to buck the trend, grow their economies and develop into reasonably stable places with good prospects (I'm thinking particularly of Namibia and Botswana), then as a general rule they began life by having tinpot dictators that resembled Forsyth's Jean Kimba deposed by force.
[quote]Cat said the scheme had allowed her to see first-hand the difficulties faced by some people in Burkina Faso.[/quote] Namely that Blaise Compaoré and his cronies would make Amin and Mugabe look like Albert Schweitzer. A government that siphons off most of the country's GDP into the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling elite, that jails and/or executes anyone that disagrees with it ... the usual story, sadly. The only way you're going to be able to make any progress in places like that is by the method described in Frederick Forsyth's 'The Dogs of War' : not a politically correct view to hold, granted, but if you look at the relatively few African countries that have managed to buck the trend, grow their economies and develop into reasonably stable places with good prospects (I'm thinking particularly of Namibia and Botswana), then as a general rule they began life by having tinpot dictators that resembled Forsyth's Jean Kimba deposed by force. Guy Fawkes

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree