We're (collectively) a small team trying to put into effect the LibreFaso project, which quite evolved with time.
The original idea was to pay tuitions to students from poor backgrounds
in Burkina Faso in exchange for contributions to Free Software and
Any people interested can follow it on gemini://librefaso.pollux.casa/ or the http mirror https://librefaso.pollux.casa/
The regular website, umanis.bf/libre, which had an English section
(still a stub though) has been attacked due to poor security in the
management of its hosting, and will be online again one day in the
future I guess. Due to my own bad practice, I have no backup of the
English section alas, so it'll have to be redone entirely (one day in
the future, probably).
Note that I tried to make the original
website (the one which was attacked) somewhat accessible, but it was
still a work in progress (I'm alone to work on the website).
suppose that the Gemini capsule is entirely accessible, but I'm not
very knowledgeable about it (nor is anybody in the current team).
am (personally) the internet-facing part of the project, for now at
least. I know little about computer accessibility, but have been
following online discussions about it and discussed with some of the
people responsible for the creation of hypra.fr.
Burkinabe part of the project has its office in Gounghin (a neighborhood in the country's capital, Ouagadougou), near the
siege of the ABPAM (Association Burkinabé des Personnes
Aveugles et Malvoyantes) and they know some people there, so I went for
one preliminary visit to the ABPAM to talk to them about Free Software,
and the visit went well, so an official meeting with the rest of the
staff is scheduled next week.
The ABPAM care for blind children (and also for deaf ones since they put one
blind in tandem with one deaf in order to allow the tandem to be
autonomous) : they arrange for the childrens' registration in regular
schools, arrange hosting in families around the association's center,
and feed the kids in a cantina inside the center.
They also have a computer room inside the center (I'm supposed to visit it soon, haven't seen it yet).
The original idea of the LibreFaso
project was to pay tuition to students in exchange for free software (and free culture) contributions.
But we are thinking of reorienting at least part of it towards high
schoolers (with obviously lower expectations for the contributions).
The ABPAM pays partial tuition to the schools that accept blind and deaf
children, according to their possibilities, but childrens' families
have to pay around 50 or 100 euro a year, which not every family can
So there's definitely a possibility of having children who have been so
far unable to pay tuition integrated in the LibreFaso program, and the
ABPAM is interested in that, though we still have to discuss the exact
Contributions expected from these kids have to not be a burden to them,
and be oriented towards helping the kids acquire autonomy.
Making them playtesting games is probably a good way to do that, at
least for the kids interested in it, and even if the whole
"contributions program" shouldn't be limited to that.
Have them field-test new versions of accessibility softwares is also something we'd like to try.
We had the surprise yesterday to see around 20 blind or visually impaired
kids coming to our viewing of Thierry Bayoud's documentary about Free
" - we had invited the teachers, but they sent the kids instead.
I explained to the kids (well, high schoolers, some were kids but some
were probably young adults) that the movie was mostly interviews, so
maybe they could still get something out of it, and after discussion
among themselves they decided to stay and watch - err, listen to - the
Before the movie I explained why I believe Free Software is particularly
important for Burkina Faso and especially for people with impairment,
giving the example of the localization of speech synthesis softwares :
with Orca (or any other free software for speech synthesis¹), they have
the right to produce a version in their local languages, be it Mooré or
Fulfulde or Bamanan or whatever.
They were very interested at the end of the movie (well, the younger
ones slept, but many of the older ones asked many questions and volunteered
for interviews) to start contributing (though they're probably still fuzzy on what it
means - I explained that there are coding contributions but also
non-coding ones, like for example to build a speech synthesis in Mooré
we would need to have people pronounce the words).
At least four of them showed deep interest in working on games (it was
intended to be next year, with tuition-getting kids, but if some of the
already scholarized kids want to start work now, I guess we'll have to
find a way to start earlier), and I know from the ABPAM staff that they
(not these four specifically, the blind kids in general) are quite good
with computers and highly motivated.
Teaching some introduction to programming classes is in the roadmap
(though not funded yet) so we could probably start slowly but steadily
I tried my best to explain both that this would be possible to do and
that it would mean real work for many months or years, but apparently
this didn't deter them - time will tell if this was bravado or genuine
Note that I'm not a programmer myself but the intended² teacher (if the
ABPAM administration agrees with the idea, of course) seems quite
competent (that's what other people tell me and the general impression
he gave me, but I don't have the level to judge his code) and is highly
¹ They use NVDA now, which I just checked is free software.
Also, I gave the localization of speech synthesis as an example because
the morning I had a meeting with a local linguist who agreed to help us
develop a Mooré (and probably Bamanaan an Fulfulde) version of Common
Voice, so actually helping the kids develop a local language version of
speech synthesis is definitely a possibility.
be very grateful if someone could provide technical help with that
though, since no one in the team has real knowledge of speech synthesis
² And currently unfunded, but he volunteered to organize Linux clubs, so
we'll have to see how to manage the situation - I don't want to
surcharge him with unpaid work either, he has his own software company