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Stories from the Field

Pascaline Gives Back to the Vocational Center She Attended Over 20 Years Ago

By Hannah Payne on July 7, 2021

Pascaline, age 56, is a wife and mother living in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. Pascaline was born with a disability and ostracized by her family when she was young. At the time, it was hard for her to get the food she needed, so she began attending Sainte Huguette’s, a vocational center in the city that provides training and education for people living with disabilities and reduced mobility.

After first attending the center 22 years ago, Pascaline has been regularly volunteering there to show her gratitude and assist those like her. The center currently hosts 45 people, all of whom receive Rise Against Hunger meals distributed by partner Catholic Relief Services. Since receiving the meals, those in the center have seen their health improve. The meals also support them as they prepare for the future. Agnes, the center’s director, said, “You cannot fight nor develop your talents when you’re hungry.”

Agnes has been at the center for 32 years. During her time there, she has trained more than 1,000 people in trades such as weaving, knitting, sewing and food processing. Many of those she’s trained have gone on to earn a living and run their own business.

Pascaline is one of Agnes’ former trainees who then used her skills to earn a living. Pascaline has become an expert at designing women’s clothes and has a loving husband and three children. Agnes says Pascaline is a good role model for those at the center, and the children affectionately call her Mamy Pascaline.

Pascaline continues to volunteer at the center, understanding what these people are going through. She declares that she is who she is today because she attended the center. She said, “That is what I want to share with others who have disabilities. Our disabilities can be a challenge but not a limit for our dreams.”

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