The Meaning of BARKA

When BARKA was first formed in 2006 it was this word, “barka”, that perfectly reflected the sense of gratitude, blessing and reciprocity which the co-founders experienced at having been touched so deeply by the people of Burkina Faso.

It was the perfect word to call an organization which was established in order to give back in the biggest way possible.

We would like to teach the meaning of the word barka to the world.

In Burkina Faso, if you want to say a thank you so big that it’s a blessing, you say ‘barka!’. It blesses both the person being thanked and the person who is giving thanks, hence the reciprocal nature of the word and the reciprocity between giving and receiving. In Burkina Faso, when someone says barka to you, the appropriate response is to say barka to God.

The word barka shares a derivation with two ancient words:

  1. the Hebrew word “BARUCH” which means blessed, or “from You (Creator) emanates blessing”, and
  2. the Sufi word “BARAKA”, translated as “a blessing, or the breath (essence) of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds”.

In Russian and Croatian, a “barka” is a small and sturdy ship made of wood and built to travel long distances. In Albania, a “barka” is an entire fleet of ships.

Barka is a word that transcends borders, cultures and languages. A “barka son/daughter” has the blessing of both their parents.