Break the Barriers: Working together for education

Education is one of the most effective methods to raise a child out of the grasp of poverty. According to the United Nations report, EDUCATION COUNTS Towards the Millennium Development Goals, each year of schooling increases income potential by around ten percent, and education empowers people with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to shape a better future.

Children can’t get an education by themselves. Children need support from both their families and communities to thrive. With the help of those around them, adolescents can be provided the resources, encouragement, and support needed to break any barriers they encounter. The community in our Sabongari sub-site in Cameroon recently rallied together to advocate for the continued education of their children.

In November 2016, teachers’ and lawyers’ trade unions initiated a strike action over professional policies and poor working conditions. English separatists in this mostly French speaking country seized this opportunity to further their cause for outright independence of the English speaking regions of Cameroon, resulting in serious ongoing outbreaks of violence.

For these past three years, most schools in the English speaking northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon have remained closed and children remain at home.

An empty class in Sabongari due to the current political crisis

Bolstered by the desire for their children to resume their education, Galame, a father of a sponsored child, approached our Sabongari sub-site director, Sister Caroline, on behalf of the parents, to ask if Chalice could help send their sponsored children to the French region to continue their education.

Sister advised Galame to write his request in a letter. His letter was sent in as part of a critical needs application. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the children were able to be housed in a temporarily closed college the congregation operates in the French region and continue their studies.

“Before they left for school, the children were just scattered in the village without purpose,” explains Galame. “Now their behavior in school is quite different and much better. Our hearts are calm because they are in school studying. We are praying for an end to the conflict so our children can come back home to continue studies in Sabongari. We thank you for what you are doing for us.”

Teenage student Lizette catches up on her studies

Another parent, Jeanneth, adds, “I have danced with joy and I am overwhelmed. My daughter is doing very fine in school. I also thank God for the sponsors who are taking care of my daughter’s education. I am so happy for them.”

Due to the combined effort of sponsors, donors to this critical need, and supporters of the gift catalogue, 100 children from 81 families have been able to resume their studies. The girls and boys have shown a great resiliency in overcoming the many obstacles put before them and are studying hard to prepare for their national exams.

Community support is essential to support education. The parents and parish of Sabongari advocated for their sponsored children, found a solution to overcome their local school closure, and with some financial help from Chalice donors, the students are so grateful to have resumed their studies.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” exclaims Sister Caroline. “May God bless each of our sponsors abundantly!”