The year 2014 was devoted to construct classrooms in Gado, East region, for children refugees from Central Africa. We equally built lodging infrastructures for teachers of Government High School Manoka.
Providing much-needed classrooms for refugee children in Gado
As Nelson Mandela said, we believe that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change world”. This is the reason why despite serious security risks, we decided for the 2014 edition of 21 Days of Yello Care, to go to the UNHCR refugee camp of Gado Badzere at Cameroon’s border with the Central African Republic (CAR) in the East region of the country, to build and provide refugee children with two classrooms, to facilitate their schooling.
In the midst of conflict, education is often seen as a luxury for refugees or internally displaced people who are also struggling to find food, aid and shelter, and according to UNHCR officials, there are 7,140 children aged between 0-18 amongst the refugees registered in the East Region, many of whom fled civil unrest in neighboring Central Africa Republic. Due to this serious crisis, almost 140,000 people have taken refuge in Cameroon and the UNHCR has created 06 refugee camps near the main entry points in the Adamawa and East Regions namely Borgop, Ngam, Lolo, Mbile, Mborguéné and Gado Badzere.
Thanks to this project, 4000 children received back-to-school kits for the 2014-2015 school year, an education and hope for a brighter future. Our action also mitigated the risk of recruiting these children refugees by armed groups. This initiative also addresses a national priority, as the East Region is considered like a priority education zone (ZEP) by the Ministry of Basic Education.
Helping teachers to educate disadvantaged children
Assigned to the Manoka Government Bilingual High School, only 5 of 17 teachers make the 40 minute boat-ride from Douala’s mainland to this archipelago (24 islands) located 21 Km away Douala in which live a mostly fishing community of 40,000 people of two main nationalities: Cameroonians and Nigerians once a week to teach 100 children.
The main reason for this poor attendance is the acute lack of housing to accommodate teachers during their time on the island. In addition, public transportation between Douala and Manoka is by under-equipped boats on deadly waters. These teachers do not always have the financial means to fund their trips. Equally, apart from their basic training, when they travel to Manoka, these teachers are sometimes forced to dispense courses they did not train for, to students of the various classes. The main consequences of these shortcomings are the demotivation of teachers, their instability, and rural exodus of young people to the city to attend school.
Within the framework of our 21 days of Y’ello Care programme, we committed to build housing structures for teachers of GBHS Manoka, in order to solve this major social problem and ensure quality education to the students by safeguarding the stability of teachers who now have more suitable working conditions. Construction works were launched on June 1 and MTNers did bricklaying, notably the manufacturing of blocks, concrete, and tracing.
This initiative is the first carried out by a private company in Manoka, and really contributes to the development of this archipelago that was used by the government to launch National Day activities in the Littoral Region this year and thus attract public attention to its needs.