Reach Out Cameroon (REO)

Community Vision Underprivileged and marginalized groups are aware of their rights to participate in decision making, have equal access to resources and benefits, and become self-reliant within a supportive policy environment for sustainable development in Cameroon. Core Values ACT: Accountability, Commitment, Transparency Organizational Mission REACH OUT supports underprivileged and marginalized groups within the communities on health issues, wealth creation, and provide capacity building and information through the use of participatory approaches and advocacy. Vision for the organization REO is a self-sustained organization, attracting skilled staffs that work in cohesion to deliver se...
Apr 28, 2016

Progress report February-April 2016

Bridget
Bridget

This April Reach Out Cameroon traveled again to Kumba to visit Mah Di’s orphanage and we can confirm again you’ve made this place a vibrant house which could not have a better director than Mah Diane. This time we brought toys for the children (Thanks Crossroads Foundation!), 6 piglets and a guest: Madam Commi, director of Father’s House Orphanage (Muyuka), an institution with 27 orphaned children. We’ve been talking on our reports of how inspiring Mah Di’s orphanage is, and how much is there to learn for other orphanages, so we decided to put it in practice and organize a visit. Father’s House is one of our partner orphanages, and they’ve had problems with their financial stability and daily management of the orphanage. “I’m so impressed by what I saw today, this should be our own way forward. A fishpond will not do well in our own land, but we will definitely start a piggery and we can have also goats.” She said at the end of the visit.

What struck the most to Madam Commi? Besides the mentioned businesses Mah Di’s orphanage is trying to set up, she was very impressed by the fact that all the teenagers were in vocational training schools and learning a trade while continuing their education, to the point that they are the ones doing the different construction jobs required to expand the orphanage.  She also applauded the idea of starting (and soon expanding) a nursery school. Like many others her first reaction was of commotion at seeing how many children under 5 years of age are living in Mah Di’s, but her worries were soon transformed into real awe at everything they are building with your help and the help of others.

Why 6 piglets? You might remember in the past Mah DI’s only had 1-2 pigs, to sell in September to contribute to the school fees of the children. Recently Diane attended a public seminar on sustainable agriculture with other charitable institutions, and she learned so many things about how to rear pigs with natural waste, and about the synergy that pigs have with the fishpond (pig manure grows maggots, which are fed to the fishes) and knew she wanted to expand. She asked for 6 piglets, and she had already managed to obtain 6 by herself! In fact, she has now a mastery of the issue and the right people around (Franca, one of the workers at the orphanage, is an experienced fowl and pig farmer). She ended up giving us a recipe for cheap and nutritious feed that we are going to put to use in Reach Out’s piggery. We never stop learning from her.

The fishpond suffered a slight delay due to climate change. The whole of Kumba had a very arid dry season, which made many fishpond owners all over the region close down business. Everybody in the orphanage gave a helping hand and fish had to be transferred from the most dry pond to the only one remaining. There were important losses, but many survived and grew, they will be sold in June and with the profits both fishponds will be re-populated.

Emanuel, the resourceful oldest boy of the house, had to go. He had an opportunity abroad and, like many young Cameroonians, had to take it, he is working in Dubai and will be surely sending money to the orphanage soon. We are carefully monitoring the situation to make sure he is not taken advantage of, and he was properly advised before going on the risks of working abroad. He wanted to make money for the orphanage and for his future and we are sure his strong determination will make him succeed in any scenario. Ngwa has now taken over the management of the fishpond and the construction of the poultry, he is a vital guy who is finishing his education and learning construction, he says Mah Di’s is the best home he ever had and loves to learn, as he did not have the chance during his early years.

The poultry microproject is now finished. It allowed us to find so many wonderful donors like you, and we raised more than 1,100$! Very soon the poultry will be completed and we are very thankful to continue finding friends for Mah Di’s all over the world.

THANK YOU, all of this could not have happened without you.

Crossroads Hong Kong donated a full box of toys
Crossroads Hong Kong donated a full box of toys
This is Mah, the youngest girl in the orphanage
This is Mah, the youngest girl in the orphanage
In class!
In class!
Madam Commi (middle) getting to know the fishpond
Madam Commi (middle) getting to know the fishpond
Thank you!
Thank you!
Apr 20, 2016

Final Report

Susan, 4 months after
Susan, 4 months after

Thanks to your support Susan’s nightmare is over. In December 2015 she received an initial grant that radically changed her situation, we have been following her steps and on Monday 18th of April she received a second one. There will still be a last one in 4 months.

The reason to space them is that we follow the evolution of the recipient; she is receiving more money as her situation improves and her horizons broaden with more possibilities. It’s also a security measure. Economic shocks such as the one that put her in this dramatic situation threaten the communities we work with, some of them as unfair as simply not having access to affordable and effective healthcare and losing all your money in the process of trying to treat yourself or your children, some of them, as family pressure to contribute to social events or risk of thefts, are avoidable. So splitting our grants we make sure that if the worse comes, she still has another grant coming as safety net. But Susan’s evolution is very promising and she is within reach of achieving leaving this life of constant threat forever.

The first grant was an immense relief that allowed her to move from an emergency business (producing “Chin Chin” pastries and selling them around) to a way more profitable venture, buying fish, smoking it and selling it dry, a common ingredient of many Cameroonian meals.

We were amazed at her discipline, it would have been understandable if she would have used some of the money for immediate household expenditures, but she did not. She sacrificed and she knew what was coming. Her first month of the dry fish business made her a monthly profit that more than doubled the initial investment; it was this profit that she used to take better care of herself and her daughter. She continued thriving and working, shifting from dry fish to palm oil and pepper, with a brief stop to work in her family farm. She is right now having a humble table shop market in front of her house, where she sells mainly palm oil and hot pepper. She is also selling in local markets 4 times a week.

Susan has a feeling for business, the way she argues her shifts to selling one or another product reveal a profound understanding of her markets and of the opportunities around her( where can she buy cheap what is expensive in Tole) that is why she quickly shifts from one business to another. Coaching on business management is an important part of our interventions, but when you visit Susan you often leave with the feeling you were the one coached. In fact, I’ve used her as an example in business workshops with other girls and during her last disbursement we asked her to take time to give  advice to another girl (Prisca) who was just starting in the dried fish business, "First, when you are smoking the fish don't leave the fire for one minute, it can burn and spoil quickly.... Dried fish needs more capital to be really profitable, but once you manage to add some money you will see very good results" . With her, you just get the feeling that born under different circumstances she would have thrived, with your help maybe she can still do.

What are her goals? She has been following the provision stores around her neighborhood and knows they offer a poor service and are often absent, she knows she could start one herself and quickly progress, offering a reliable constant service, and continue making nice profit from the different opportunities she identifies in nearby markets. Take a close look at her table shop (picture down), in 3 months we will take another picture and post it in our general project report (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/make-an-impact-girls-education-cameroon/ You can subscribe to it to continue receiving our reports and know about more girls like Susan if you go to the subscribe feature right down) and facebook account (www.facebook.com/reachoutcameroon) , I guarantee you will be impressed at her change.

You must be wondering by now what about the children. Sarantia and Philip are still living with other families of the community and seeing her mother regularly, the family will re-unite by the end of the school year, this June. By that time she will be financially safe enough to make sure they are never forced again to leave her.

Also, she found love! Somebody from the community took an interest in her and they have started dating. She is moving on from the person that abandoned her and found a stable calm man.

We hope you are happy with the project you invested in, and we thank you a million times for changing her and her children’s life forever.

Susan
Susan's shop, where she sells palm oil
In December 2015 receiving her first grant
In December 2015 receiving her first grant
In the market, almost all oil sold out!
In the market, almost all oil sold out!
Sharing advice with Prisca, another entrepreneur
Sharing advice with Prisca, another entrepreneur
Receiving a second grant with more supported girls
Receiving a second grant with more supported girls
Mar 7, 2016

Project Report December 2015- March 2016

Odilia, takes care of a family of five.
Odilia, takes care of a family of five.

Dear donors,

After the amazing support of donors like you during December, we are increasing the budget of this program substantially, because of you, 39 girls will be trained and 22 will receive also financial support this March. Thank you for believing on these amazing women and girls, and for trusting us, we won’t let you down. In case you don’t really know what Reach Out Cameroon is about, take a few minutes to stroll through our facebook page! www.facebook.com/reachoutcameroon

This start of the year we wanted to learn more about what worked and what did not for the past years, we reached to more than 50 past beneficiaries, some higlights:

Lorencia started with us in 2014. She was trading vegetables in the market, after going through many different businesses. She struggled a lot to provide for a family with an unsupportive husband, “My husband and I are just managing. Love and poverty don’t go well together. He’s been bringing me down all these years. He would come and beg me for 1000 francs, sometimes he gives back sometimes he does not. So I stopped it. I told him: I don’t have any 1 franc to give you”. Lorencia is also an excellent cook, and quickly she has become our official cook for all events, and is building a carrier as a cook for ocassions. She has now multiplied by 4 the capital received for her trading business, and turned around the husband, who now contributes a small monthly sum to household expenditures.

Marie, a young girl who you might remember from last report, is taking good care of the pigs she received, feeding them with vegetabe waste from the family farm. She is also succesfully trading bananas (her monthly profit is equivalent to the grant we gave her) “I'm really grateful, I feel I don't need more support and now you should help new girls".

Odilia received small but critical support more than two years ago, when she just started her hairdressing saloon. She is now managing a booming saloon with a working capital of 40 times the money received and she is now employing and training other girls.

Success has to be credited mostly to the girls determination and to very critical factors like the family environment, the role of the husband or boyfriend is key. We've seen disruptive partners, but also exemplary ones. Kelvin (see picture under) does not only approve of what her wife Charlotte is doing, he joined efforts with her to build a beauty saloon, where he does the nails. We love to see a man helping his wife shine.

And who is coming next? Girls like Elekta, an HIV positive girl who is taking care of her elderly parents and her son selling meat snacks. Strong, assertive and with a mind for business, we look forward to see what she can do with a bit of help, she is among the 39 selected to undergo training on March. We hope you will join her on this journey.

We also spend time on building our own skills. We trained our staff on beekeeping and mushroom production. Seizing the opportunity provided by two different local organizations, friends and partners of us, the Bonakanda Bova Bee Farmers Group (BOBEEFAG) and the NGO Changing Mentalities and Empowering Groups (CHAMEG). We thank them again. Our staff received amazing and intensive training that we will soon be bringing into the field. The potential for these low-cost, ecological, highly profitable and not so time consuming activities is just too big. We are not in this fight alone and if we want to achieve real change in the fight against poverty we must rely in friends like them.

We want to finish with a statement Lorencia made during our last interview.

“I like that you listen to me, and that you tell me that someone will care about this story, because at times I felt like my life did not matter to anyone, but seeing someone asking me these questions and taking an interest in my life makes me feel like someone cares." She does not know you, and you did not know her, but it was you caring about her that brought her where she is now.

Thank you!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

P.D: Today is Women's Day! Today and during this week, any donation made through globalgiving UK will be matched by 50%! Until funds run out! Donations need to be done through this link: http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/projects/make-an-impact-girls-education-cameroon/

Consider this opportunity to maximize your impact and share the good news among your friends. Thank you for everything you have already done for them.

Lorencia, cook and trader. Being interviewed
Lorencia, cook and trader. Being interviewed
Kermit and Charlotte plan to expand their saloon.
Kermit and Charlotte plan to expand their saloon.
Lucy, our staff, being trained on mushroom farming
Lucy, our staff, being trained on mushroom farming
Marie, 21, trades banana and rears pigs.
Marie, 21, trades banana and rears pigs.
Becky, in front of the saloon you helped to build
Becky, in front of the saloon you helped to build
 

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