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 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
Feb 5, 2016

Progress Report December-February 2016

Talk with them! www.facebook.com/reachoutcameroon
Talk with them! www.facebook.com/reachoutcameroon

Dear Friends,

It’s been close to one year and we can say that the journey they started eleven months ago when they entered into GlobalGiving has brought results, including a fully functioning fishpond that will have its first yield this March. 500 fish! If properly sold it’s basically their budget for half a year. In these eleven months the orphanage has completely changed its face and its issues: feeding, clean water, hygiene and health are all properly addressed; now we are talking about full sustainability and bringing up a school/vocational training center for the orphans and the community.

In fact, this relationship is not one sided, there are some things we have seen in Mah Di’s that we have learned and we are now advising other orphanages to copy as best practices. The way they keep clear records of donations and sources of revenue, the way they diversify their revenues among different sources, most of them good business ideas, the way they built a relationship with the community around them. This December the store room was full of bags of rice and other items given by individual benefactors, like you they care about the orphanage and they provide what they can. One day we were even surprised by the bike driver carrying us there, he did not only know the orphanage, he was a donor himself!

Since our last report, you, we and they have:

  • Started construction of the poultry, the first payment was done and the pillars and the floor are being built up as you read these words. With such a structure the orphanage will be able to raise bigger, healthier chicken and continue growing. They will provide the resources to be adding chicken, but they can hardly come by the kind of capital for building such structure, that is why we are stepping in. We have uploaded a separate microproject in order to build a fully functional poultry, so far we can only provide for half of the desired size. If we exceed the goal we will also provide the chicks and feed. You can support them following this link, initial donations (no matter how small) are great because they help give visibility to the project, this microproject will last 60 more days before it is retired by globalgiving. https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/poultry-farm-for-mah-dis-orphanage/
  • Built a small piggery to better rear pigs, the old one was a very old structure that crumbled when a young male got too excited.
  • Provided sportswear for the orphans, a friend of the organization provided the clothes and these will make the cost of schooling less of a burden for the orphanage.
  • Admitted 4 children from the community to the nursery school, who are paying their fees on installments, this project is already turning into a business!
  • Added a new baby to the family! He was brought to the orphanage by the Ministry of Social Affairs due to a family story we cannot disclose, he is now number 41.

We hope you are pleased and we want to close with some stories of our boys and girls, as told by Mah Diane.

“Bridgette (8) loves book. She loves to read, she scatters the whole library at any chance. She loves book, but you give her housework…. Anyway she is very good, she is 7 and teaches the children in the nursery from time to time, she teaches numbers, letters and songs she remembers from nursery herself. It was her initiative to start teaching. She says she wants to become a teacher when she grows up. I did not say anything but I love to see her teaching and I always give her some small sweet after class. But don’t give her housework she will run away… she has some small stubbornness in her.”

“Emanuel (21) is hard working, youths get to the age of adolescence and start getting ideas of their own, they don’t have time for you anymore, but he continues growing and getting more and more responsibilities. He is managing the fishpond, in fact we want to do more fishponds now, he has learned from the technicians how to build it and care for it and we think we can expand at half price. He will be the one building the poultry, leading the rest of boys. He gets construction jobs during school breaks and employs the other older orphans, and he always brings something for the house. He does not look like a teenager. Any problem; he is the one gathering all the other orphans to discuss. And he does not know how to keep secrets, if something is wrong I just go to him and he simply tells me, he just can’t lie or hide anything, it’s not in his nature. –Mom, better I tell you and we see what we can do-”

“Monica (4)… she gets up very early and wakes me up. Then she spends all day petting other children, she is always following everyone and beating, hugging, petting and always laughing”

We thank you for changing their lives and promise to continue reporting on their progress

P.D: Remember you can follow us on facebook www.facebook.com/reachoutcameroon and you can support the new microproject. Share it among friends and consider a small donation! https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/poultry-farm-for-mah-dis-orphanage

P.D2: As the picture says... talk to the children of Mah Di's! If you want to share a message of encouragement for the children write to us on facebook or directly by mail at marc@reachoutcameroon.org

Monica leading the way during a visit to the farms
Monica leading the way during a visit to the farms
Bridgette
Bridgette
Mah Diane
Mah Diane
Thank you and remember to support the poultry!
Thank you and remember to support the poultry!
 

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