The Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) has been supporting ICA Canada and its projects for over 10 years, including the construction of three schools and new classrooms. They don’t plan to stop anytime soon. In fact, they have recently reached the $10,000 milestone towards their next school in Cameroon!
The latest project we worked on with the UTE was the construction of new classrooms at the Rainbow Bilingual College in Dschang located in West Cameroon. It is the first private school to partner with ICA Canada for a project like this.
There have been positive impacts as soon as the new classrooms were available. The student enrollment increased by 39.4% between 2018-19 and 2019-20. The number of teachers also increased from 23 to 34 for the same period. By only adding new classrooms, we have helped increase the number of students enrolled and reduced the unemployment rate among the youth.
“The two classrooms constructed with all the laid down standards of a modern classroom have gone a long way to facilitate this teaching-learning process by providing the learners and teachers ample space and a very conducive environment. Teachers and learners can move freely and there is no interference of sound,” said Asongu Severine N., Biology teacher at the Rainbow Bilingual College.
A year ago – just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the World – a delegation from ICA Canada went to Cameroon to see the newly constructed classrooms and witness the positive impacts it has made on the community, thanks to the UTE members.
Crisis in Cameroon
There is currently an Anglophone crisis ongoing for years in the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon that has forced many people in migrating to the town of Dschang. In 2019, it was estimated that 22,000 people including 11,900 children and young adults were those, who had been displaced to Dschang. This put a stress on the existing academic institutions that weren’t equipped to take on more students in the primary and secondary schools as well as vocational training centres.
Extra classrooms and more schools need to be built on an ongoing basis, hence why we are very excited about the UTE’s pledge to build their fourth school. The students we have met in Cameroon have shared with us how much it makes a difference for them.
“Ever since coming to the Rainbow Bilingual College as a displaced person, I was fortunate enough to be placed in one of the classes donated by the ICA. The block consists of two classrooms painted in blue and white. These classrooms have not only benefitted me, but also all the other students. Thank very much for your support,” said Alemngru Glory, who is a student.
Thank you to the UTE from the bottom of our hearts for your constant support over the years to help Cameroon children with their education.
If you would like to contribute and help the UTE in reaching its $30,000 fundraising goal, you can do so here.
Monica Chow has been a volunteer with the International Children’s Awareness (ICA) since 2019 helping the organization with social media management, and taking photos and videos. Born and raised in Ottawa, Monica is a Senior Project Officer for the Government of Canada with a background in business. Prior to her current position she worked in project management, government administration and high profile agency wide committees.
She learned about the ICA from a co-worker whose son visited Cameroon a few years ago and it turns out that her union – the Public Service Alliance of Canada is affiliated with the ICA and sponsors a board member annually.
Monica felt that the fit would be right to volunteer for a smaller NGO (non-governmental organization) focused on basic human needs, such as education and clean water. She realized that she is very fortunate to live in Canada and wanted to help those, who are less fortunate. Monica also appreciates that all ICA board members are volunteers unlike the bigger NGOs.
Monica was offered the opportunity to visit Cameroon in 2019, and she took it. She witnessed firsthand some of the ICA projects, including the Rainbow Bilingual College and Lycée de Litieu where more classrooms were built. These two schools and many others are in Dschang – an area heavily impacted by the displacement of people from the south west region. During this trip, Monica and the ICA delegation brought over 1,500 pairs of eyeglasses to donate and held a pop-up eye clinic.
Monica was truly amazed by her experience in Cameroon. She especially felt honoured to visit the schools and spend time with the students. “Seeing this developing country where people live with the bare minimum while being so kind and happy humbled me,” she said.
She believes that water and education are the foundations to help any economy improve and potentially thrive on its own. “Without these fundamental pillars, Cameroon will not only remain in poverty, but will never be able to self-sustain and will always rely on outside help,” she said. Monica hopes that the ICA can help change this reality in the long run.
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Chantelle is 16-year-old young lady from the Village of Besali located in the South West region of Cameroon. The ICA team met this beautiful and soft-spoken student, who has six siblings aged from 6 to 20 years old. All of the children in the village are attending the ICA/CIC primary school that was built in 2010.
Chantelle shared with us that this school is one of the very few in Cameroon that has enough textbooks for everyone, and that it made learning easier. She is currently studying in high school and the textbooks aren’t provided. “My father works very hard to send us all to school, but there is not enough money for all the books we need,” she said. Chantelle also explained that she and her friends share their books since none of them can afford to buy them all.
Chantelle would like to be a teacher once she has completed her studies. During her free time she plays handball and football with her friends.