MIA/ALMA, a refuge for abandoned girls

"Many of the girls are victims of rape, forced marriage, child-trafficking and violence. One third of the minors at MIA/ALMA are HIV-positive, often through no fault of their own. For this reason all my friends thought I was going to build a hospice for the dying. Thank God it is anything but It is a happy place where the young girls can live in safety.."

Katrin Rohde "Mama Tenga – My African Life“

In 2003 AMPO. opened MIA, the first home for abandoned girls. The second home, ALMA was added in 2008. The idea behind the two homes has proved its worth over the years and in 2015 the opportunity arose for the two homes to move together to common premises with its own vegetable garden. This home offers refuge to girls from very difficult backgrounds. Many have fled from forced marriages or the threat of female genital mutilation, some were prostitutes, some suffered unwanted pregnancies and were subsequently rejected by their families, some are being hunted by their former pimps.

Many of them are marginalised because they are infected with AIDS. MIA-ALMA is the only home in Ouagadougou offering
these girls a way out of their situation. The home can accommodate up to 50 girls and their babies. There is a huge demand because meanwhile the word has spread among girls in such circumstances that help is available. Social services, local officials and other local responsible bodies refer girls to MIA-ALMA.

During their 2 to 3-year stay at MIA-ALMA the girls learn to lead independent lives in keeping with AMPO principles. Most of them attend school and all of them are trained in dress-making and domestic science. AMPO endeavours to equip the girls to face any of the dangers that may have brought them to us in the first place. In cooperation with AMPO P.P.Filles Counselling Centre, the girls are also instructed in topics such as women’s rights, FGM, sexuality and AIDS prevention.

While the girls are preparing themselves to determine their own future, their children who are often traumatised are looked after by the trained pre-school teachers at MIA-ALMA. After a difficult start in life they find here safety and stability for the first time.
Our aim is to re-integrate the girls into their families of origin. However, custom and tradition make this very difficult and we only succeed in a few cases. Fortunately the girls develop a sense of solidarity when they are at AMPO, they support each other
and often get together after they leave to share accommodation or set up small workshops.

On completion of their stay at AMPO each girl is given a bicycle and a little money as start-up capital.

Since it was founded MIA-ALMA has been directed with love and complete commitment by Souleymane Nana. He is a real street worker and vehemently protects his girls from unwanted interference from their past.

The products made in the tailoring workshop at MIA-ALMA are sold at local markets and in the AMPO boutique.