The continuing civil unrest in Cameroon is putting additional pressure on a country already in crisis. This situation has only increased the need for foreign partners to redouble their efforts and assistance Cameroon. There are four unique crisis’ that are occurring simultaneously and any one of them is enough to bring immense hardship on a nation that ranks 150th on the UN’s Human Development Index with up to 40% of the population having little to no formal education.
The breakdown of the four crises facing Cameroon are:
1. In the North-West and South-West regions, a separatist movement has displaced more than 700,000 people.
2. In the Far North, between 230,000-300,000 inhabitants are displaced due to persistent violence by Boko Haram.
3. In the East, the ongoing civil war in the Central African Republic has forced more than 270,000 refugees into Cameroon placing a massive burden on an already impoverished nation.
4. COVID-19, this global pandemic has imposed a national crisis on Cameroon that only compounds the stresses on the entire population.
The violent crisis caused by the separatist movement has occurred in ICA’s traditional areas of aid and has forced us to react. In the areas of the highest violence, schooling has ground to a halt in 2017 and hundreds of thousands of fleeing school children have not been in a classroom for 4 years now.
ICA has made a commitment to help the people displaced by this unrest, and have shifted our school building focus to ensure that we are building schools that contribute to the critical need to provide education for these refugees of the escalating violence in the North-West and South-West regions. Pre-existing schools in the areas where the refugees have been forced to settle are bursting at the seams. Classrooms designed for 60 children are hosting 160 and, as a result, the quality of education has been reduced dramatically. ICA is building classrooms in these areas to help ease the burdens caused by unmanageable class sizes.
In the past 3 years we have built 6 large classrooms that have helped to a great extent. In the grand scheme of it all, it’s a small contribution to a problem of this scale, but we remain dedicated to working to the extent our funding allows, to facilitate an education for the children of Cameroon. At ICA, we firmly believe that education changes everything for a child.
As the Chair of ICA I am proud of our efforts to continue to serve the people of Cameroon in the face of some of their greatest trials. We continue to work extremely closely with our local partners, the Centre for International Cooperation, to provide assistance in some of the most negatively impacted populations of the ongoing violence. None of this would be possible without the steadfast support of our many individual and organizational donors. Together we continue to make a difference.
Michael Johnson, Board Chair ICA Canada
Let’s educate these kids.
The future is NOW!
Dr. Lorraine Frost
Dr. Lorraine Frost has been involved with the International Children’s Awareness (ICA) as a board member from 2003 to 2006, then again since 2018. She travelled to Cameroon in 2003 with a group of teacher candidates as a part of her work, and became interested in what Ed Smith – founder and previous president of the ICA – was doing to help Cameroonians. Once she was nominated by outgoing board member Dr. Dave Marshall to take his place, the rest is history.
Dr. Frost was deeply marked by the generosity and humanity of the people she met in Cameroon during that trip. “They welcomed us, cared for us and shared with us,” she said. She believes in the work of the ICA, because the organization’s approach respects and collaborates with the Cameroonians. The ICA’s volunteers also work on the initiatives that are important to people in Cameroon.
Dr. Frost’s most meaningful involvement with the ICA has been to work with The Retired Teachers of Ontario to help raise funds that went towards the purchase of textbooks for schools in Cameroon. It is a project that had a direct connection to her career as a teacher.
She began her career in Norway House in Manitoba – an indigenous community accessible only by air. Dr. Frost was born and raised on a farm just outside of Teulon in the Interlake region of her home province. She taught in rural Manitoba and Toronto before starting her PhD studies in Special Education at the University of Toronto. She has taught and supervised at the undergraduate and graduate levels across Canada since 1988.
With over 45 years of experience in teaching Dr. Frost is currently the Director of the Concurrent and Consecutive Bachelor of Education programs and a professor at the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University in North Bay, where she lives. She and her husband have two daughters and one grandson.
When we ask Dr. Frost how the ICA is important for the future of Cameroon, she responded “Cameroon is a country that has been ignored by the mainstream media, even when horrific attacks on schools and teachers are taking place. Nearly one million people have been displaced from their homes due to violence.” She hopes that the ICA can help bring attention to the situation in Cameroon.
Let’s educate these kids.
The future is NOW!
Rose is a shy young lady from the village of Tchogie. The ICA team met Rose and a few of her classmates in the village of Nkong. She is one of 7 children in her family and all but her older sister are in school. When asked about her older sister, Rose explained that she is 15 years old and has two children of her own.
Rose like so many of the other students seems to really enjoy school. Now in secondary school, her father cannot afford to buy her all of the necessary text books. She told the team that her favourite subject is physics and that she would like to continue to study science after secondary school.
She went on to explain that she would like to be a nurse so that she could help her family. The team was struck by Rose’s candor and her desire to help her family and her community.
Rose loves physics and would like to be a nurse.
By supporting ICA Canada you support students like rose.
$10 a month will keep me in class.
I am the Future.