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Graduate Student with a Mission

Yves OuedraogoYves Ouédraogo is studying at the Mount to give back to Burkina Faso

Yves Ouédraogo is a man on a mission ... literally and figuratively.

Ouédraogo, originally from the west African country of Burkina Faso and currently working towards his MBA at the Mount with a specialization in project management, recently went on a mission trip to Haiti—painting medical buildings, working on the construction of a church, and mostly, sharing the love of Jesus Christ. By the end of the trip, his shoes, gloves, and work pants were completely worn out, and despite the hard labor, they all sang while they worked.

His trip to Haiti was one step along a path in service to others.

He says that it is a “blessing to have the opportunity to pursue higher education” and he has a dream to return to his country and contribute to its development. Burkina Faso is a developing country in the Western part of Africa about the size of the state of Colorado, with a population of 17 million. It is a landlocked country and shares its borders with six others countries. Burkina Faso is a sahel, or arid country, due to its proximity to the Sahara Desert to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

Yves grew up in a Christian family of six in Burkina Faso. His father is a recently retired member of the “gendarme,” or special police force, in Burkina Faso, and his mother is a social worker who assists with the social reintegration of juvenile offenders in the capital city correctional detention center. Ouédraogo has two older brothers who are working in finance and management in Burkina Faso, while his younger brother is pursuing his undergraduate degree in aviation management in Florida.

He says his parents didn’t have the opportunity to pursue higher education, but were committed to providing that for their children. Ouédraogo received his law degree at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso in 2007, and in 2008, he made the 5,000-mile trip from his homeland to the United States—earning a master’s degree from California State University in 2011. 

The help he wants to provide to Burkina Faso is badly needed. The country is considered one of the poorest in the world, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line.  Additionally, its literacy rate is only 33 percent among young females, and about 47 percent for males. The country also suffered from droughts and military coups through the 1980s.

He has been assisting Frederick Campus Academic Dean Greg Ochoa, Ed.D., with academic programs, and has been serving as a writing and math tutor for Mount students. He describes his time at the Mount as “a great journey and a great learning experience” and says that he has “learned tremendously from the experienced body of professors and the dynamic class interaction of students with different backgrounds and professional experiences.” He will graduate from the program in the Spring of 2014.

Ouedraogo in Haiti

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