A predominately Muslim community, Upkwa residents, were displaced by a natural disaster, and their new home the citizens have no electricity or running water. Physicians at the local health center were administering IV's at night by candlelight and flashlights. Another cause of no electricity heavily pregnant mothers were walking or riding dirt bikes ~10KM (over 6 miles) to deliver children at the city hospital for a safe child birth.
Thanks to a generous donation provided by the Bill Cook Foundation, ScholarShop Africa, was able to work with the local physicians and city leaders to bring electricity through solar panels to the small heath center. ScholarShop Africa is proud to announce the physicians no longer have to use flashlights and candles! The health center is now fully lit 24/7 and has seen a sharp increase in deliveries!!
Upkwa health center today also serves the community in another special way. The solar panels provide enough electricity for a TV in the waiting room! Now young football admirers who once spent hours walking to watch champions league and other (soccer) matches, now have a flat screen installed right in their backyard! Please visit billcookfoundation.com to find out more about his foundation and read his wonderful success stories.
Tem Yoland is incredible.
She has a drive seen like no other child. She comes from a very impoverished home where her father was not around. Yoland is the reason ScholarShop exists. Yoland's potential is infinite, yet her means are limited. Her mother sells oranges and plums in hopes of earning a couple dollars a day, rarely enough to support Yoland and her two brothers.
At the age of 12, without money for school fees, Yoland was sent to work as a house girl for a wealthy family in Douala (Cameroon’s economic capitol) for two years. Through her own force of will, she managed to save enough money to re-enroll in secondary school in hopes of pursuing her dream of becoming a banker.
We're happy to report that Yoland has, through the ScholarShop program, paid her school fees and registered for CAP and received a high pass. She recently was selected for the prestigious African Leadership Academy. Due to lack of funds and her grandfather being listed on her birth certificate she was refused her visa. Her family, like many in Cameroon, did not have the funds to obtain proof of death when he passed, the fate of many Cameroonians when a love one passes. Even though Yoland is 18 she was asked to provide a signature from those listed on her birth certificate. Through ScholarShop, Yoland, was able to obtain a document stating when her grandfather passed away. However, she was told it was not valid and a cause for a rejection of her visa. However, ScholarShop Africa see's Tem Yoland’s potential and will fight until the day she boards the plane to South Africa.
Cameroon is full of young men and women as amazing as Yoland, but too often they're forced by financial necessity to clean floors, wash clothes, and drive motorcycle taxis. For Cameroon to truly emerge, we must ensure that its brightest minds are allowed to flourish, rather than languish in menial hand-to-mouth labor and excel in their dreams. Tem Yoland should not be cleaning a rich family's toilet; she should be managing their investment portfolio. She should not have had her visa denied, she should be studying amongst the brightest students’ in Africa at the African Leadership Academy. Through goodwill, faith, and persistence ScholarShop is confident Yoland will receive her visa and continue her studies.
Finished 1st in her class Won the ScholarShop Elevator Pitch Competition Won the Wum area spelling bee Won the ScholarShop Business Plan Competition Won the Menchum Division Bilingualism Challenge Earned the highest number of ScholarDollars in her class
Tem Yoland is incredible.
Shop on Amazon? Now, a portion of every purchase can contribute to ScholarShop's work helping students in Cameroon. First, go to Amazon Smile. Select ScholarShop Africa as your chosen nonprofit. Moving forward, simply make all your regular Amazon purchases at smile.amazon.com, and 0.5% of your total goes directly to ScholarShop schools. Thank you!
HIV Testing at Waindu
Another HIV testing event today, this time at GTC Waindu. Forty students were counseled and given free HIV testing through the ScholarShop program. A huge thanks to the health personnel from Wum District Hospital for ensuring the event was a success!
Community Service in Waindu
More than 20 students spent three days after school removing graffiti from classroom walls, filling in potholes, building a handball court, and cutting grass at the Delegation of Secondary Education. The ScholarShop pilot is in full swing and we could not be happier with how active and engaged the students are: both in the classroom and in their communities.
Local success panel
With nearly everyone in Upkwa grazing cattle, students often have the mistaken idea that their future path is predetermined. ScholarShop wants to open students eyes to the infinite possibilities that lay before them if they invest in their own education. At yesterday's Local Success Panel, students received practical career advice from representatives of the legal field, medical field, and public service. Below, Divisional Chief of Section Alain Awah speaks with students on the importance of goal setting and the concrete steps necessary to pursue a career in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Scholarshop helps local businesses
Beyond the high cost of shipping, sending school supplies to Africa can dilute local markets, hurting the merchants who sell those goods. The problem in most villages in Cameroon is not the availability of school supplies, but rather the lack of finances to purchase those supplies. The supplies earned by ScholarShop students are all sourced locally. Meet the proprietors of New City Book Shop, Tailor 196, Candlelight Documentation, and ENN Building Supply, all of whom have seen a nice boost in business via the ScholarShop program.
Peer Skills Sharing
Traditional development models often imply that local problems can only be solved by external forces. ScholarShop rejects this idea and instead helps harness existing local skills, knowledge, and materials. To that end, ScholarShop hosts hands-on craft workshops in which our students teach their peers marketable handicraft skills. Here, Ali Abdullaye teaches his classmates how to build bamboo chairs and tables. Ali's confidence was boosted by the experience of leading a group while his peers learned a new skill that can help finance their education.
GSS Upkwa, HIV Testing
Yesterday, ScholarShop hosted a free, confidential HIV testing event for our students in Upkwa. The event included pre- and post-test counseling and a testimonial from a local woman living with HIV. Through the ScholarShop program, participants have been working to achieve individual and communal goals; to do so, students realize that they must maintain healthy lifestyles. Yesterday was a wonderful step in that direction.
Ndam Kelly, GHS Ngyen Muwah
In the future, I would like to be a doctor. I strongly believe that if I work hard I will be able to achieve this goal. Due to the problems I am facing, the price to send me to school is too expensive and so my goal will not be achieved if my family and I do not overcome this financial problem.
I love to do activities like playing football, handball, volleyball, basketball, guitar, and so on and so forth. I also love to help my mother in the kitchen, especially when she is cooking.
I live with my mother and my junior ones. I am a Christian and a member of the fellowship in the Full Gospel Mission. It is so much fun to go to church because you learn so many things and you try to follow the will of God. I love to sing songs. The songs that I love to sing are gospel music. It is very nice to know God. Not only knowing God but also being a child of God.
Service Project - School Construction
ScholarShop students are encouraged to get involved in their communities and lead the change they want to see. When funding for a local primary school came through, participants went out two days in a row to help level the floors and get construction underway.
After a hard day's work building a new primary school, students at GTC Waindu celebrate with a Cameroonian card game favorite called Check, which is very similar to Uno in the US.
Afuhnchung Laurentine, GTC Waindu, Form 5
My name is Afucnchun Laurentine and I was born on May 27, 2001. I used to live with my mother during primary school, but now I live with my aunt. I have seven sisters. My father is a taxi driver and my mom sells food. I love playing volleyball and selling in the market. In all of my years of school I have never been below the 5th place. This year I will be writing my CAP and if I pass, I will continue secondary school at GTHS Wum. After completing my schooling I want to enter commercial school in Bamenda and become an accountant.
Service Project - "Get Well" Cards
As part of their ScholarShop community service project, students at GTC Waindu drew colorful 'Get Well' cards to be given to patients at local health centers. Here, Tem Yoland sits with a patient at Wum District Hospital.
Mo'awiya Adamu, GSS Upkwa, Form 4
Mo'awiya, fluent in 4 languages, is a strong student who enjoys reading books, learning to cook, and listening to his small radio. His mother and father are survivors of the Lake Nyos disaster, now living in the Upkwa resettlement camp. Though he was an MVP of Grassroots Football, Mo'awiya's new passion is basketball. Through the Scholarshop program, Mo'awiya's hopes to earn his school fees and textbooks for next year by volunteering at the community garden and improving his grades in school.
Enah Prosper, GTC Waindu, Form 3
My name is Enah Prosper, I was born on the 28th August 2002 and am 13 years old. My mother is a tailor and my father is a trader. My parents live in the Central region, in a town called Mutengene. My father wanted to send me to GBHS Wum, but I refused and told him I wanted to be an electrician in the future so now I am in GTC Waindu. My mother told me to be a teacher and I agree with her that I will become a teacher and I will be teaching my trade subject because I love both of them. My best subject is electro-technical engineering.
Asmau Musa & Habilu Haruna GSS Upkwa, Form 5
Asmau: I always go to school very early in the morning. I obey my teachers and my brothers and sisters. I like reading books in school and even in my compound. My family earns money through farming and grazing of cattle. They are humble and peaceful. When I am free, I like to carry water for my mother and after carrying water, I help my father by carrying grass in the farm after he has cleared it.
Habilu: I am from a large polygamous family. My favorite hobby is football. I have played for the school team since primary school. I have been selected to play for teams that have traveled as far as Bamenda and have won several championship trophies in competition. My future goal is to join the army to help with peacekeeping and fight for my fatherland.
Rashida Abdullahi GSS Upkwa, Form 5
I was born on April 10th, 1999 in Wum, Cameroon. I started my primary school in GS Upkwa in 2004. By that time I was a small lady of 7 years old. I was very happy when I passed my First School Living Certificate. My father and mother were very happy at that moment also. I then wanted to make them even more happy by attending Secondary School at GSS Upkwa.
My goal is to be a teacher in the future and to be a better somebody. One day, I hope to be Minister of Secondary Education.
Meet GTC Waindu
Meet the ScholarShop class at GTC Waindu! GTC is a technical high school that trains Cameroonian youth to become electricians, builders, and plumbers. As such, students at GTC need more than just textbooks; they need the pliers, levels, and hammers necessary to complete their practicum work. The ScholarShop model is flexible to the varying needs of schools; through the program, students at GTC are given the opportunity to earn exactly the supplies, both scholastic and technical, they need for their academic and professional advancement.
To earn ScholarDollars, the building & construction students at GTC will be molding and laying bricks for a new laboratory on campus, while the electrical students will be wiring the lab. Through the ScholarShop program, students acquire practical experience and earn supplies; the school benefits from a brand new lab; and the community gains a new generation of service-minded, technically skilled youth.
ScholarShop Tech Manual
Buba, co-facilitator at GSS Upkwa, showing off his newly printed ScholarShop Training Manual.
Fifty young men and women begin an incredible journey to learn computer programming, and crucial life skills. This is EASI.
Sports and life skills
The perfect combination
The EASI crew!
The participants and volunteers of EASI are even more excited than we are to get started!
ScholarShop partners with LITC!
We are very excited to announce our partnership with LITC to provide more and better programming to youth in Cameroon! LITC is a spectacular UK organization with programs for youth development across Europe and the Global South.
Our partner project, EASI, will train 100 participants (mostly girls) on important topics such as active citizenship, independence, and communication skills, in addition to high-need computer programming skills using the Raspberry Pi program. Beneficiaries will leave the program with marketable skills, and the personal strength to make their dreams a reality.
We could not be happier to have found such a remarkable, dedicated partner who shares our vision for youth development in Cameroon!