Sabine Balima, portrait of a maternal assistant who advances women's rights in Burkina Faso

7 Mar, 2022
Sabine, maternal assistant in Burkina Faso

Sabine Balima is the mother of little WendPanga. This Burkinabé woman had to stop school in the fifth grade. However, last year, she followed our training as a nursery assistant and opened her own nursery.

On the occasion of the International Women's Rights Day on March 8, we want to honor the strong women who, like Sabine, take their destiny in hand and that of the children of Burkina Faso.

Interview with Sabine Balima.

  • Hello Sabine, tell us about yourself! Hasn't your life changed in the last few months?

I am a mother of 3 children, one girl and two boys. I live in the department of Saaba in Burkina Faso. Until a few months ago, I was a trader. I was selling basic necessities. But it was getting harder and harder to sell the goods, the end of the month was difficult. And then I heard about the training of childcare assistant offered by Planète Enfants & Développement: I followed it and I obtained my diploma in 2021.

I didn't get very far in school. I couldn't take the fifth grade exam because I got sick. So this childcare diploma is my very first diploma! I am very proud of it, it is a victory for me.

  • Since then, you have created your own crèche. What does it mean to you? 

Yes, I started a nursery 6 months ago in partnership with another childcare provider. Together, we take care of 11 children daily, 6 girls and 5 boys!

After the training, I realized that the women around me were having a hard time finding work because they couldn't afford childcare. In our nursery, we even have 2 children whose mothers lost their jobs after giving birth. Since we have taken in their children, they have returned to work. This is a victory for them as well as for us!

I am also very proud to see that the advice I give to the mothers around me is followed: I now have knowledge that allows me to take good care of the children and to participate in their development.

And that's without counting the encouragement of my husband: he says he is happy to have a fighting wife, I think it has even strengthened our relationship.

  • Have you encountered any difficulties in getting to this point? As a woman, was it easy to create your business?

It's not easy to reconcile being a wife, a mother and having a business. We have to do the housework and take good care of our family: it is important so that our husbands do not tell us to stop working!

Some husbands refuse to let their wives work. Since they are the heads of the family, it is better to listen to them or risk having the whole family on your back.

But my partner and I are lucky: our husbands support us in our project. Even if they don't have the financial means to help us, they encourage us and advise us a lot. At one point we were desperate not to find a place for the crèche. We thought about giving up but they encouraged us.

It took us several months to find our premises: very often the owners doubled the price when we told them that we wanted to set up a crèche. 

  • Sabine, is your project helping to improve women's rights in your country?

Yes, it certainly is. We have trained, we have created our two jobs and by looking after their children, we allow other women to continue to work without being worried. By working, women take care of their needs and also contribute to the needs of the whole family. They strengthen the place of women in the family and in society.


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