We are building a new centre in Bafoussam, Cameroon to increase the number of severely disabled children receiving treatment to help with their difficulties. Since its foundation in 2004, our partner GLORES, run by Alfred Wingo, has treated 1,500 people from a rented building. We have sent grants for prosthetics and a few beds for limited post-operative care. The new centre provides GLORES with a permanent base and bigger facilities to give 500 children each year some hope for a brighter future.
Bafoussam is home to about 9,000 disabled children. But many are hidden away, out of view, marginalised by misguided beliefs that disability is punishment for something the parents have done wrong. A recent survey found 559 cases in just four villages, 70% did not go to school. Those who do are often abused. With no-one to turn to, they lose self-esteem, develop dependencies and become depressed. All too often families can't afford the cost of treatment or ongoing travel to the current building.
Treatment changes lives - it can cure them or give children the hope of being able to live with their disability, walk and go to school. With vocational training they can start to think about getting a job or setting up a business, and stop feeling like an outsider. The new centre has much more space for treatment facilities and is on a main highway with frequent buses and taxis, so it's much easier to reach. It also provides a base for Alfred and his team to work in other nearby regions
Not only are we changing children's lives, we're starting to change attitudes. The public interest the centre is attracting by being on a busy road is good. More people can see that disability can be treated and are learning to accept it better. Plans are ready for another building where 24 children can stay after treatment, cutting the frequent trips parents have to make each week. The new centre is expected to become a hub for networking, vocational training and sharing best practice.