New Hope for the Blind in Burkina Faso

Rev. Tarnagda (who is visually impaired) proudly displays the New Testament in Mooré Braille in the yard of the Boulsa Center for the Blind, Burkina Faso. Photo by Boubakar Ouedraogo.

The ceremony took place on March 24 at the headquarters of the Bible Society of Burkina Faso (BSBF) in Ouagadougou. Many representatives from Churches and from societies and government organisations set up to help visually impaired people who were present.

A Double Partnership

The Bible Society, with technical support from the Braille Evangelical Mission, printed 318 copies of the 18-volume Mooré Braille Bible. The Mooré New Testament (Protestant version), published in 1998 by the BSBF, was used for the transcription. The work was carried out in collaboration with the Society for the Visually Impaired in Burkina.

There are about 500,000 visually impaired people in Burkina Faso, 200,000 of whom are blind. The Bible Society works regularly with the 85 training centers for the visually impaired spread across the country and gives them Braille Scriptures.

A pupil from the Boulsa Centre for the Blind during a Braille writing class.
A pupil from the Boulsa Centre for the Blind during a Braille writing class. Burkina Faso. Photo by Boubakar Ouedraogo.

 Although Christians make up only 15 percent of the population in a country where most people are Muslim or animist, 40 percent of the visually-impaired people who attend the training centres say that they read the Braille Scriptures they are given. Reading these Scriptures helps them to improve their reading skills by giving them the opportunity to build on what they have learned.

The Fight Against Poverty

"In addition to literacy training, these centres teach market gardening and handicrafts," the Rev Dramane Yankiné, BSBF General Secretary, explains. "The aim is to help fight poverty while treating these people, who are made in the image of God, with the dignity they deserve."

A few days after the launch, a team from the Bible Society went to the Centre for the Blind in Boulsa, about 93 miles from Ouagadougou, to take them the first copies of the Mooré New Testament. The enthusiasm shown by the children as they began to investigate these volumes was a great encouragement to the team, and provided extra motivation to make a start on the transcription of the Old Testament.

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