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An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
A Christmas Letter from Fr Michael Targett M.Afr. Fr Michael Targett
An update from Fr David Cullen M.Afr (WF) Fr David Cullen
An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
January 2020 An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
AMAP update from Mike Ellis & John Joyce Mike Ellis
January 2019 AMAP update from Fr. Alick Mwamba from Mali Mike Ellis
December 2018 Please, help Felicity find her father's grave. Felicity Jones
An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
Water Buckets to halt the spread of Ebola
An appeal by the Rotary clubs of Guillford, UK

Mike Ellis

Street Child Africa — and across the world.
Fr Patrick Shanahan
speaks to the United Nations in Geneva on The Rights of the Child
Eric Creaney
The Africa Medical Aid (AMAP)
Rport No. 2 from Mike Ellis and John Joyce

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

October 2013
Report on Africa Medical Aid Project (AMAP)

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

January 2013
The Pelican Project by Fr Terry Madden MAfr Fr Madden
January 2013
The Africa Medical Aid (AMAP): an update from
FrPère Zacharie SORGHO, M.Afr

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

A letter from Fr Zacharie Sorgho in Mali Maurice

A musical fundraiser from Michael Gallagher and Rosie McArt. Michael Gallagher
'StreetInvest', supporting street children

(StreetInvest is an independent Charity and not part of The White Fathers, Missionaries of Africa).
Fr Patrick Shanahan
'Streets Ahead' initiave could fold without your help!

(Streets Ahead is not part of The White Fathers, Missionaries of Africa).
Fr Patrick Shanahan
Street Child Africa Fr Pat Shanahan via Eric Creaney

An update from Fr Dave Cullen MAfr (WF)

From: David Cullen: davidcullen@gmail.com

Dear Pelicans,

I hope that all is well with you. Here, we recently celebrated our number one feast day, but, unlike previous years, we could not invite the White Sisters who have a house for their retired missionaries quite near us here. We still can’t have anyone coming into the house.

            I’m sure you’ve got plans for Christmas. I’ve been invited by one of my nieces to her home where too my sister will be. Another niece will kindly give me a lift there as the days when I can get into tubes and trains have gone. I manage the local bus into Ealing Broadway, but that’s it.

            I’m really grateful for that generous donation you sent. Patricia, my number one SVP contact, sent me a copy of what they used your money for. You can see how far it stretches. Many thanks once again.

            Wishing you all many Christmas blessings,


            Fr David


Dear Fr David,

Thanks for the money you sent to my account on behalf of the SVP and here is the list of people we helped.

1: misozi Tembo in minga 500. (Misozi is the mother of many children I’ve been helping over the years with school fees, clothes and medicine. She and two of the children are HIV positive) £18.00

2: Jasintha Banda, a sister to Ignacio, one of the students we sponsored to become a nurse. (She lives in my previous parish in Mphangwe and wanted help to launch a small business. I like to help girls in this way, being afraid they might turn to prostitution to find money. She recently finished secondary school. I have helped her 3 brothers with college fees. Hopefully they can support the family when they find jobs and maybe help Jasintha with further studies). 800.00 £27.00

3: Edina Zulu 500. (She is an orphan we are sponsoring at college. She had no money for a serious tooth problem. She sent us a receipt from the hospital just to show her request was genuine). £18.00

4: Bertha:  she was married to a man from Malawi but he ran away from her and left her with 5 children. She started doing prostitution to find money to feed her children. I helped her with 1500 £55.00 to pay rentals and buy food. She hadn’t paid the rent for 5 months.

5: Moses lungu, a very old man with a stroke caring for 8 grandchildren, 2 of whom were doing prostitution. His wife died 4 years ago. I helped him with a 1000, £27.00  to buy food and medicine.

6: Tasila mwale, a widow with HIV, having 7 children and 4 grandchildren. l helped her with 2000, £53 to pay rent for the field where she plants maize for food, as also to buy food and start a small business.

7: Matrina phiri, a blind and very old woman with 13 grandchildren, 3 of them doing prostitution for food and none of them going to school because of not paying the fees. l helped her with a £53 to buy blankets, clothes and food.

8: Grace Banda, a psychiatric patient, pregnant and with very elderly parents. She does not know who impregnated her. I bought her baby clothes, food and medicine 1600, £60.00.


These are the people I helped through the money you sent to my account.


            God bless,


            Patricia (on behalf of the SVP)

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A Christmas Letter
from Fr Michael Targett M.Afr (WF)


December 2020



Dear family and friends,

This has been an “outstanding” year for everybody all over the world. “The Year of the Covid”, and it continues into 2021. By God’s grace and the timely and prudent action of the authorities, Ghana has been spared the disastrous impact of Covid 19 that the West and many other countries experienced. As soon as the threat became apparent, the borders were closed, a lock-down was imposed and masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing were ordered. Special quarantine and treatment centres were established. The health system has been able to cope well with the relatively low numbers of infected persons. The land borders are still closed. Regrettably, many people are now getting careless in observing the required precautions and so infections have been increasing recently. We pray people will take the risk seriously and cooperate, especially in this festive season.

I have been going out only when necessary and when I do go out, to the Bank, a pharmacy, a major store etc., my temperature will be checked and my hands washed several times before I get back home! Incidentally, I notice how the practicalities before entering the Bank etc. developed as the months passed. At first, you had to turn on the tap and pump the soap container yourself. Then some places installed foot pedals for water and soap so you did not have to touch anything. Then one or other establishment introduced an electronic system: you just put your hands under the tap and water flowed. Creative thinking and inventiveness.

The Centre itself, of course, has been affected by the covid lock-down and its consequences. For about 3 months, no retreats or programmes and no gathering of our Sunday community for the Eucharist. Our finances suffered heavily and twice we have been obliged to draw substantial amounts from our reserve funds. But we received generous donations from some members of our Sunday community who knew our situation. We are very grateful for their support. However, the absence of ministry had a positive side as well: it gave me time to tackle some of the tasks that have been waiting ages for attention! Now the Centre is again open. People are coming for retreats and we have resumed programmes. The Sunday community is gradually increasing in number, masks and social distancing etc. observed religiously (of course!)

The threat of covid 19 reminds me that “Every Day is a Gift of God” as a little wooden plaque from my sister reminds me daily as it hangs on my inside door. We are fragile and vulnerable creatures as I was reminded also by a few health issues in the latter part of 2019 and the first half of 2020. Thankfully, I was able to get competent treatment and also see a consultant who ordered a series of tests that I would have waited weeks to get in the U.K. The results were basically normal and reassuring, thank God. One of the important conclusions is that I need to get more rest so I go to bed earlier.

The virus reminds us that we are an intrinsic part of a living, evolving, on-going creation. It is also a fact that we are part of a world where the Power of Evil is actively present, evolving, finding new forms of expression in opportunities that scientific advances and technology present. I think, for instance, of all the fake news and  hate speech that you find in social media, with lamentable effects. We do indeed need a Saviour! Those who have experienced in some measure oppressive systems, injustice, violence are the ones who most look forward to the coming of a Saviour and rejoice when he has come.

May we recognize our urgent need of the Saviour today and be ready to put ourselves at his service.

I count on your prayer support and pray that your Christmas and New Year be richly graced despite all the covid restrictions.

Michael M.Afr.

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Fr Terry Madden MAfr

(source: The White Fathers' Magazine, January 13th 2013)

This year the Ouagadougou Pelican Study Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary. This means twenty years of serving the youth of Ouagadougou by offering a secure environment for study, a library and remedial classes for those who have failed their school exams.

The Missionaries of Africa have always believed that education is one of the essential means of helping people lift themselves out of poverty and its destructive consequences. Here in Burkina Faso they were the prime movers in the education of youth until the government stepped in and took over all the mission schools in 1968. The current Prime Minister and many Ministers in government and leaders in the country were educated in Catholic schools.

Fr. Edouard Duclos MAfr
(left), in Bobo Dioulasso in 1992, was asked to come to Ouagadougou and set up a centre for study, including a library. Most of the city's schools did not have a library. Few of them had a place where the pupils could stay after school or at weekends to study and read. The Missionaries of Africa were keen to play their part in alleviating this situation.

The study centre would need to have electricity to light up the area at night; something the young people did not have at home. Many of them gathered around any public lighting that was available at the time, but these places left them vulnerable to thieves and violent men. As a result, the study centre would also offer them a secure and peaceful place to work.

Very soon after opening the first centre, Fr. Edouard realized that many of the people who used the centre were those who had failed their exams at school, either the BEPC, after 4 years of secondary school, or the baccalaureate, at the end of seconday school. Many of them would ask him to find them tutors who could help them study and prepare re-sitting their exams. Therefore, Fr. Edouard asked some students he knew at the university to come and give tutorials to the pupils.
This was the beginning of the Pelican Study Centre.

Since Fr. Edouard retired back to France in 2006, two other Missionaries of Africa replaced him: Fr. Toni Weideleiner, a German, for two and a half years, then Fr. Felix Sompougdou, a Burkinabe, for a year. When Fr. Felix was appointed to Bamako to work in the Centre for Christian - Muslim Dialogue, it fell upon me to look after the Pelican, on top of my "day job" as Director of Vocations. As my office is in the Pelican courtyard, it was an easy move, even if it did add a lot of work to my already busy schedule.

Fr. Terry Madden. MAfr

Thankfully,another confrére was willing to work with me; Fr. Alain Fontaine, a Frenchman, who is also the Provincial Secretary and lives in the Provincial House on the other side of our wall. He looks after all the financial administration of our work. His help takes a load off my shoulders.

During Fr. Toni's time, we were able to modernise the facilities, with the help of the Society of Missionaries of Africa. We built a two-storey building. On the ground floor, we have three classrooms, two for teaching and one to use as a computer room. On the first floor, we have a large classroom and a dormitory with two smaller bedrooms. This floor is essentially the Centre to welcome our vocations candidates, but the pupils of the Pelican can use the classroom during the week.

Donors giving blood at the Pelicanz   (left)

Over the past few years, we have also invested enormously in the library and the study area. The study area was covered to give shade and protection from the wind. The library was re-stocked with school books, African literature and novels. The Missionaries of Africa in the USA, the Friends of the Missionaries of Africa in France, the Diocese of Cologne in Germany and many individual supporters have all been instrumental in this progress and the improvement of our facilities. Without their financial support, we could not have achieved our current situation.

In this 20th anniversary year, we have enrolled 195 pupils: 114 girls and 81 boys. Of these, there are 99 Catholics , 9 Protestants and 87 Muslims. I quote these figures because they indicate an important aspect of our work. Unfortunately, due to the traditional way of thinking in most families, boys are favoured over girls when it comes to spending on education. If a family cannot afford to send all the children, preference is given to the boys, as it is hoped that they will be able to contribute later on to supporting the family. The girls are destined to be married and will leave home and become part of their husband's families. This is one of the main reasons that more girls than boys come to our centre.

Another important aspect of this project is dialogue between the principal faiths. Even if the Centre is a project of the Catholic Church, about half the pupils are not Catholic. For many of the Muslims and Protestants, it is their first experience of close contact with Catholics. This experience will help us break down the prejudices, which often colour our relationships and even divide us. Too many problems in the African world today are given the slant of a Christian-Muslim conflict or divide. With the invasion of the north of Mali by Islamist brigands, the tension between the two faiths risks polluting our relationships here in Ouagadougou. The more we can do to promote understanding and friendships between people of different faiths, the more we are likely to achieve peace.

We do not only want to give classes to prepare the exams. We also want to broaden the pupils' education and general knowledge. As a result, every Thursday morning, a day without classes, we give talks on topics that will open their minds and help them cope better with life. Although these talks are not obligatory, we find that about a quarter of the pupils come in for them. This makes the hard work of the teachers who prepare the talks worthwhile. They give their time freely.

Many of our teachers are, in fact, university students themselves and what they receive in reward for their work helps them pay their tuition fees.

Part of the library

The Pelican is a charitable foundation to restore hope to those who have failed their exams and who cannot return, mainly for financial reasons, to the public education system.
The pupils make a contribution of about £45 at the beginning of the year. However, this sum only covers the salaries of the teachers. We still have to find about £20 per pupil per year for the administration and running costs of the Centre. This requires substantial funding for us here in the Province of West Africa. Anyone who would like to donate towards our Centre can send their contribution to the Sector Treasurer in London and ask him to send it to us here.

Some of the pupils at the Pelican

We feel confident that our project is in line with our Society's objectives and is responding to a felt need at local level to bring the Good News to the people of Africa and the African world.

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