Appeal for churches to aid starving Burkina Faso

ALL the mainstream churches in Ballymoney have been approached to come to the aid of a humanitarian crisis in Africa.

The people of the impoverished West African country, Burkina Faso, are in desperate need of food and water after a lengthy period of drought wiped out most of the country’s crops.

They are currently existing on meagre rations and have even resorted to using mud as a food substitute with fatal results.

The plight of Burkina Faso has touched the hearts of many in the Ballymoney area and Drop Inn Ministries have been at the forefront in providing assistance alongside their charitable work for other countries in need throughout the world.

Local ladies, Edwina Chambers and Mandi Coyles, have deovted much of their efforts to helping Burkina Faso and, in particular, an area called Koudougou which stretches miles into Bush country where there are precious few facilities and where people are in dire need of assistance.

Tens of thousands have already been donated by local people and Edwina and Mandi are forever grateful for this, but they have pledged to do more particularly after the lack of rain devastated crops and left people with no seed to replant.

“It is heartbreaking to realise that men, women and children are scratching around for food and making ‘biscuits’ out of mud pies. Many people died after eating them and this has only strengthened our resolve to get as much money as we can,” Edwina said.

Both Edwina and Mandi have made a number of visits to Burkina Faso and plan to go again, but not before their fund-raising initiative is completed.

All the main churches have been asked to contribute and a DVD of four minutes duration will be given to church leaders in order to let the congregations see for themselves just how difficult things are.

“We want to reach as many hearts as possible and ask people to dig deep. Every penny raised will go to helping the people of Burkina Faso who are rapidly running out of hope,” Edwina said.

Mandi added: “Everytime you go there it’s a real test. You feel such sympathy for everyone particularly the children. There’s no electricity, no proper facilities and when you bring sweeties with them, you wouldn’t believe how delighted they are. When you also consider that a bag of rice which one cost the equivalent of £11 and is now £25 it brings home the impact this is having on people.”

The fruits of the money raised for Burkina Faso can be seen in a number of ways. A vehicle has been purchased for a local Pastor to transport food as well as acting as an ambulance.

Water provision has also been supplied and money has been donated for buildings.

“All this has been down to the people of Ballymoney who have been extra generous. We couldn’t have done it without them,” Edwina said.

Many individuals have contributed greatly including one person who handed in £5000 and Liam Beckett, renowned for his sit-outs for charity during the Christmas period, has agreed to do a repeat exercise for a weekend at the beginning of June.

“Liam has been fantastic,” Edwina said, “he has sent football kits to many countries and the children are so happy to get them.”

Anyone who would like more information or how to donate should contact Edwina on 028 276 63543 or 07749171862. Mandi can be contacted on 07871927779.