Posted by Cathy Bisaillon on Mar 15, 2018
Editor's note:  Thank you to Past President Cindy Holmes (who began our Club's involvement with Walk in the Light International - WITLI), Cathy Bisaillon, Past President Ed Hamilton, and Barbara Beagle for contributing to this story.
 
Silverdale Rotary has been supporting Walk in the Light International (WITLI http://www.witli.com/) for over two years with grants from the Club and individual Rotarians sponsoring children and micro-loans.  
 
On Thursday, March 15, we were treated to a visit from our partners from Walk in the Light International (WITLI).  Katy (pictured above on left) is WITLI co-founder with her husband Thomas.  Pictured above right is Adama Ouedraogo, the Burkina Faso In-Country WITLI Director, who shared one of the most touching, powerful, and personal stories that we have heard in recent memory.
 
They shared about the changes in the lives of children and adults in Burkina Faso since we have become involved, and it took our collective breath away. We learned astounding facts, like that children can now attend school past the elementary level, and that they no longer have to skip an entire day of eating for the opportunity to learn with their peers.
 
People of all ages  with infections and diseases are now treated without delay in the new Rotary health center, substantially lowering the infant mortality rate and eliminating the need to split up families to seek medical care hundreds of miles away.
 
The most touching moment of the day was learning first-hand from Adama Ouedraogo  that Rotarian-sponsored micro-loans have empowered women to start their own businesses and finally halt the cycle of poverty and oppression.
 
Adama stopped in mid-sentence and asked if Rotarian Barbara Beagle was in the room, as he wanted to personally thank her for funding a microloan for his wife Bernadette Diasso's business. “My clothes,” he whispered as he stopped to model his exquisite shirt and trousers, “were made by Bernadette using skills and equipment that she would not have without Barbara’s love and support.”  
 
Background: All the clothes in the photos in this story were designed and tailored by Bernadette, pictured on left with Adama. She started with the 2-year microloan in 2016, and the first thing she learned was drafting a pattern, then tailoring to fit a specific person. Bernadette acquired a sewing machine and practiced her newly learned skills with beautiful African fabrics.  And you can see the results in these photos.
 
    
 
 
In the summer of 2017 she took a break to have their precious daughter and make baby clothes. Then she started with the second year of classes. 
  
Barbara (a lifelong seamstress who was drawn to Bernadette by her passion to learn to tailor) connects and gets updates from Bernadette via Facebook Messenger, in French!
 
We believe that that Adama could have larger financial opportunities elsewhere, but his heart is with the schools in the villages in Burkina Faso, and changing students' lives by education. We are so grateful that the tailoring skills that Bernadette has acquired will help their family be able to continue the amazing work of Walk in the Light International.