Burkina Faso: Katrin Rohde founded The Association Sahel e. V. – AMPO, in 1996, hand in hand with the establishment of an orphanage for boys (today 60 boys aged between 6-18). As the years went by, further initiatives were united under the umbrella of the association. Therefore, today the following initiatives also represent and integrated part of AMPO: an orphanage for girls (60 girls aged 6-18), the houses MIA and ALMA, each serving as an accommodation for 20 castaway and pregnant girls and young women with AIDS and their children, a consultation house for women, a hospital ward as well as projects for disabled (wheelchair repairing and a workshop for wheelchairs) and a school for agriculture including a residential school for 80 boys (Tondtenga).
Being a bookshop owner in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Katrin Rohde probably would have never dreamt about the fact that she would one day live in Burkina Faso, in order to establish an orphanage and thus to bring an initiative into being, standing as a first project in long series of many other successful projects. In 1987 Katrin Rohde came into contact with a Burkinabé group in her hometown Plön in northern Germany and through them she made her first trip to Burkina Faso. Travelling across the country on her own, she became seriously ill. A customs officer took her into his family and they nursed her back to health.
In order to express her thanks she promised to collect money in Germany to build a school. Not much later, she travelled back to Burkina Faso, in order to organise and supervise the building of the school. On one hand the country and its people fascinated her; on the other hand she was shocked by the prevailing poverty, the victims of which are mainly children and young people. Those were the impressions that eventually led to her decision to move to Burkina Faso for good.
After settling in, her attempt failed to find homes for some of the young people in families and so Katrin finally took the street kids into her own house. There they lived for almost 2 years. Ultimately there were 18 children and young people living together in 3 rooms. Meanwhile she was also busy trying to obtain permission from the government ministries to build an orphanage. After the permission was granted in 1996, Katrin Rohde was able to move in with „her“ children.
The orphanage turned out to be a great success, and by and by further initiatives came into being. They all serve not only as a support and a home for children and teenagers, but also as an additional work environment for local people. When the youngsters leave AMPO, after turning 18, they are well trained and able to confidently look into the future. Miriam for example has just finished her accountancy apprenticeship and Balima, meanwhile a tailor, is employed as a trainee in the AMPO workshop.
Every now and then, Katrin Rohde sets out for travels in order to give lectures. Since African co-workers very well administer AMPO, she needs not always to be present. This independence is a sign for the fact that the work of the initiative is being executed out of the reality of the local culture and thus represents a part of Burkina Faso itself. This has also been acknowledged Burkinabe government and thus, the association received “The Order of Knights for National Merit” in 2005 and Katrin Rohde was herself appointed "Knight of the National Order of Merit” in 2008.