In Burkina Faso, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews of Sawadogo Ramata (not-pictured) eat around a communal dish of millet paste and baobab leaf stew, likely their only meal of the day. Photo by Jake Lyell

You can help mothers and children facing starvation in Burkina Faso

  • Niki Clark
  • Jun 30, 2022

"I just want happiness for my children," Ramata Sawadogo said. It's what any mother wants. But happiness seems like a far-off, impossible dream for Ramata and her children. Catastrophic hunger threatens her family, making a mother's simple wish more of an out-of-reach fantasy.

Before the family fled violence in their rural home in Burkina Faso, Ramata grew as much food as her family needed. But one day, violent extremists stormed through her town — and she watched in horror as masked men killed her neighbors.

Fleeing from violence to drought and hunger

She knew then that she had no choice. She quickly gathered her young children along with what little they could carry, and they fled for their lives.

Drought, death, fear and hunger plague the people of Burkina Faso. They've suffered changing rain patterns, six years of instability extremist violence and a recent military coup.

Ramata's family escaped to the relative safety of a larger town called Nouna, but there's no farmland there for her to grow her own food. Her husband had to leave the family because extremist groups are killing men his age. He sends what little money he’s able to earn to help Ramata and support his family. A small group of Ramata's extended family — including sisters, aunts, moms and cousins — work together to look after their children. They make a little money sifting gravel and selling it to nearby construction companies.

Here in Nouna, there are no camps for displaced people so Ramata and her family must use what little income they have to pay rent for a small plot of land where they live in donated tents.

Famine threatens the one meal a day Ramata can provide her family

With the government unable to provide sufficient food supplies, Ramata and her children are barely surviving on as little as one meal a day. Ramata is forced to divide the meal among her entire family, placing the bowl on the ground so each of the children can at least grab a handful.

Ramata makes sure each child receives something to eat. But with famine now threatening the more than 1.5 million people displaced in Burkina Faso, she dreads the day there won't be even a handful of food for her children and her nieces and nephews.

A full-fledged famine would lead to massive loss of life among the children, women and men already suffering the violence of civil unrest.

Put suffering mothers’ minds at ease by donating today

Gripped by hunger and fear of hunger’s devastating effects on young bodies — mothers worry about their children. They're at tremendous risk of illness, malnutrition, stunted growth and insufficient brain development due to lack of nutrition.

You can help put these mothers’ minds at ease by sending your gift right away. You'll provide food and other essentials so mothers like Ramata never have to choose which of their children to feed. You'll help locate space for families to farm so displaced people can endure both the difficulties of civil unrest and prolonged drought. You'll also give hope for Ramata's children by providing emergency food, clean drinking water, quilts, Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, access to health services and much more.

Make a life-changing difference for our neighbors with the very least

With your generous love and support, you can make a lifesaving difference for Ramata and her family today.

Ramata prays that someday she'll be able to go home — where she can grow her own food and the children can eat as much as they desire.

Until then, you can help provide Ramata's children with the urgent food, water and supplies they need right now. And a chance for what every mother wants for her children — happiness.

Niki Clark, Jun 30, 2022 email