My name is Meg Dallett, and I’m an In the Field intern with GlobalGiving in Cameroon this summer. I’m traveling around the country visiting all the GlobalGiving-partnered NGOs, and I’m writing this postcard to pass on some of what I’ve seen to the donors who have given to this organization. ...
When I met Alima, she marched right up to me to say hi while other children ran yelling around the playground during recess. She is eight years old, she said, and likes school very much. I asked what her favorite subject is, and she didn’t even hesitate—“Math!” she shouted, throwing her hands in the air. Why? “I have a twenty out of twenty,” she replied proudly. Further conversation was halted by the mob of kids nearly bowling me over to see my camera. Alima is one of about fifteen children ages 5-10 coming to the Bitame Lucia School for free classes during summer vacation, where she’s learning English, math and French as well as arts and sports. It’s a rare opportunity: without this school, most of these kids would probably be working on their families’ farms or walking along busy roadways selling candy or soda to motorists. Instead, we saw them listening attentively to their English teacher and enthusiastically raising their hands to be called up to the board. The school is run by the Cameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the Child (CAPEC), which partners with the US-based organization Develop Africa. Ajomuzu Collette Bekaku, Founder and Executive Director of CAPEC, says she started the organization to address a whole host of injustices against children. “I grew up in a community where children suffered alone,” she says. CAPEC works on education, child labor, child marriage, orphanages, leadership, and soon disease prevention. In order to make the Bitame Lucia School as accessible as possible, it’s cheaper than average and many students are on scholarships. Collette also wants to give the kids opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise, so every now and then she organizes an educational outing, such as to the zoo. Collette spends all her time reaching out to international organizations and donors to give her kids the best opportunities possible, and is grateful for everything that’s come to the Bitame Lucia School through GlobalGiving. Recently, the roof of the school caved in during a rainstorm, and GlobalGiving funds were available to repair the damage just in time for vacation classes to begin. She hopes someday some of the donors will come visit the school! Just before we left, we visited the main classroom again and Collette asked the children if they wanted to thank the people in the other countries who helped them rebuild the roof. “THANK YOU!!!” they hollered in unison. Then they went back to sounding out the words on the blackboard.