A BIG Update and Overview of Developments in Jinkfuin, Cameroon
I hope that everyone is having a great weekend! Today, I had the distinct honor of meeting online in chat with Reverend Teh to get an update on the Jinkfuin project. As a result of that discussion, I am excited to share this very big update and overview with all of you.
Update on the status of the Primary School
Through local fundraising efforts, Goodness and Mercy Missions was able to purchase a piece of land and build two semi-permanent classrooms made of sun-dried mud bricks and plaster. The roof is constructed with wood planks, nails and corrugated sheets. The windows are made of wood planks. In each classroom, there is a blackboard, chalk, and desks. Desks have a cupboard attached where students can store their books. Each classroom has a table and two chairs. There is no electricity at the school at the present time. There is a source adjacent to the school, but it has not been routed to the school campus. A long cable is needed to draw electricity from the pole. A transformer would need to be installed at someone’s house located not far from the electric pole so that electricity could be tapped into from there. Of course, with electricity comes the need to pay the associated bills, so this is another concern. Only two rooms have been constructed so far. Four additional classrooms operate out of a rented building at this time. GMM hopes to build an additional 4 classrooms onto the existing school to eliminate the need to pay rent.
WORLDSCHOOL STUDENTS JOIN JINKFUIN TO HELP
A group of Worldschool students will be helping us with the following assignment:
Desired End Result
Students will develop a report with low cost building techniques that can be used in Cameroon so we can build a good and sustainable school building. This includes an energy system that is low cost and sustainable.
1. What are low cost but sustainable building techniques that can be used in Cameroon?
2. What are the pros and cons of these building techniques?
3. What will be the costs for building the school using these techniques?
4. How can the school be operational with sustainable energy?
5. What will be the costs for making a sustainable energy system for the school?
6. Which building technique is the best option for Jinkfuin?
The primary school has enrolled a total of 96 students ranging in age from 5-17 years. The primary school has 4 teachers. Seventeen students have been enrolled in the nursery school between the ages of 3-5 years. They share one teacher. Out of the 5 teachers at the school only 2 of them have had formal training in education. The other 3 teachers have high school and secondary level education. The teachers at the school have volunteered to work for a minimal amount of pay. The school is a community-based school, not run by the government, although, they do follow the same curriculum all other students are required to follow throughout Cameroon. The teachers follow this curriculum year-round. GMM has partnered with ABCD, an association that the government has authorized to open schools in Cameroon. This partnership is only to operate the school under their banner. At the present time, they do not contribute anything toward the development of the school.
A Generous Donation
Gary, a GMM volunteer from New Castle, England bought 96 textbooks for use at the school. Students are able to borrow these books. The books are English language books and Math books. Gary has donated 200 exercise books for the students. Prior to his donation, each student had 2-3 of these. The higher classes require more than 9 exercise books for their subjects. Books focused on history, geography and science are still needed as well as story books that children can borrow and read. The school office is located in the rented portion of the building and Reverend Teh tells me that there is plenty of space there to store additional books. At the present time, there is no community-based library in Jinkfuin.
Some of the students cannot afford school uniforms. All students pay a fee to attend school. Last school year, the students paid 2500 Frs. CFA. This year they are required to pay 3000 Frs. CFA. This small amount is used to compensate the teachers and is much less than what is demanded by other schools. The majority of the students are unable to pay this amount, so GMM works to find internationally based and local sponsors for those that they can. A lot of the local sponsors will only agree to do this for 1-year which then makes chances of furthering education slim to impossible if another sponsor cannot be secured. Each year GMM holds local fundraising in the Jinkfuin village to help address this need, but more help is needed.
There are two computers located at the Goodness and Mercy Missions office in Jinkfuin, Belo Sub Division, Cameroon (not at the school). These are used to type exams and other documents for the school. The GMM office does not have a copy machine, printer or scanner at this time. There are many people interested in learning how to use the computer and they often crowd over them.
Current Priorities for the Jinkfuin Village include:
1. Securing educational materials and supplies for the school.
2. Securing desks, chairs and tables for the classrooms.
3. Building 4 additional classrooms onto the school as well as a school office.
4. Securing funding for building as well as for starting the project working with people with disabilities in our community.
Workshop for People with Disabilities
A few weeks ago Reverend Teh posted a new project to the Jinkfuin village focused on helping people with disabilities in the Jinkfuin community. At the present time, Mary, who is part of the GMM team, has been training some of the girls to do seamstress tasks and others have been studying on the computers they have available at the office. The major obstacle for this project has been how to secure the funding necessary to initiate it. GMM has targeted 33 people with disabilities who will directly benefit from this program if they can get it off the ground. There are many more who could benefit as well.
This past week, a group of facilitators began discussing how best we can promote partnerships among the various schools at Nabuur. The hope is that once we determine the schools who are interested, we would then be able to pair them with another Nabuur school and students could share information and experiences about their respective cultures thus creating an opportunity for learning that they may not have otherwise had. We also hope that pairing school projects together will create meaningful collaboration among those that administer these schools so that it brings benefit to all. Reverend Teh is very interested in participating in this endeavor. In addition to this, I have been discussing the possibility of setting up a joint chat among the LR’s of the Nabuur villages in Cameroon to discuss problems/issues of each respective project to see if through greater collaboration all may benefit.
Promoting Goodness and Mercy Missions
Thanks to the generous help of UN Online Volunteers, Goodness and Mercy Missions is in the process of getting a new website set up. Have you seen it?
You can find the new website here:
Did you know that Goodness and Mercy Missions also has a group on Facebook? We would love to have you join us there! You can find the GMM Facebook group here:
Reverend Teh is very interested in building the volunteer program both online and on the ground in Cameroon. He is planning to start posting volunteer opportunities through Idealist.org in hopes of reaching more people who may be interested in helping the GMM achieve its goals. They already have many locally based volunteers hard at work with the organization.
As you can see, there are many exciting opportunities for growth and development in Jinkfuin! We hope that you will join us and are always happy to welcome new volunteers to the village.