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Aldergrove-based charity raising funds for West African country

Charity Christmas sale features work by local artisans
(left to right) Norm Ridley, Natalizia Nadeau, Audrey Burm, Sherri VanVliet, Ann Anctil, and Kevin Stock make up the board of directors for the Aldergrove-based Save Burkina Faso Canada organization. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

By Tanmay Ahluwalia/

There’s still a little time to buy unique, hand-made gifts and help those in an under-developed country.

This Christmas, an Aldergrove-based charity is collaborating with Aldergrove-based artists and craftsmen from Burkina Faso for its online Christmas artisan sale, which continues until Thursday.

The sale, that started on Remembrance Day and ends at 6 p.m. on Dec. 23, features ceramics, jewelry, knitted wear, and other crafty products, explained Help Burkina Faso Canada founder Audrey Burm.

“Reproductions of art from local artisans has helped us offer affordable prices,” said Burm, who proudly shared that 95 per cent of the revenue is used directly for the communities in Burkina, and the rest covers the charity’s administration costs.

Due to the pandemic, she could not travel to Burkina Faso and hence couldn’t bring bags and bags of products back to sell with her, like she usually does.

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So in preparation for this year’s sale, she reached out to Aldergrove-based artists, who – she noted – were more than happy to help her fill the shelves with locally made art pieces.

The charity depends highly on artisan sales and monthly donors to raise funds for its projects in Burkina Faso, Burm explained.

The pandemic didn’t allow the charity to organize its normal in-person events in Aldergrove this year. Hence, Burms said she is excited about the online artisan sale and hopes to raise as much as possible.

“We have a strong support from Langley and Aldergrove because we are based here,” said Burm. She added that the charity is grateful to the donors and Aldergrove communities for always offering a helping hand and donating generously.

The volunteer-run organization also relies on private events where they can address an audience and raise funds while creating awareness. Though there weren’t many in-person opportunities available this year, Burm said she was extremely thankful for the St. Joseph’s Catholic Women’s League’s Christmas dinner event in Langley, where her presentation won the hearts of the members present and she raised approximately $1,000.

“Definitely, we have to our part here [in Canada] but not to forget that there are people who require help in the Third World,” Burm elaborated.

Help Burkina Faso Canada is a sister charity organization of Help Burkina Stitching, a Netherlands-based charity that works separately but for the same cause and usually on the same projects.

Burms’s interest in helping the Burkina communities comes from her husband’s uncle, father Willy Burm, a Netherlands-born parish priest who dedicated his life to working for the Burkina communities.

Following in his footsteps, Burm’s husband’s cousin now manages the Netherlands-based charity, while Burms leads the Aldergrove-based Help Burkina Faso Canada – with help of other board members.

In 2019, Help Burkina Faso Canada received its local registered charity status, and Burm was overjoyed. Though the registration was an official start, Burm had been putting in her 100 per cent for the marginalized communities of Burkina Faso – a country located in central West Africa – since many years before.

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Within a year after registration, the charity raised approximately $90,000 to help the Burkina community build a three-room school with washrooms and a kitchen.

From a one-woman show to a non-profit society, and finally, a registered charity with board members, Help Burkina Faso Canada has come a long way, she said.

“My heart lives in Burkina Faso and I am hoping to raise as much money as possible and represent the artwork of local artisans,” Burm concluded.

Anyone in Canada can do their Christmas shopping from their website at, with products listed under the ‘Make a Difference’ section. For more information, people can reach out via email at


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An old school, which was a goat shed provided by the chief of the village. It has been replaced by this new, three-room school built by donations to the Aldergrove-based Save Burkina Faso Canada. (Special to Langley Advance Times)