Cameroon: Growing income for SBA Coop’s women and their families!

Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) is proud of the women from rural communities at its SBACoop who have grown their income and now achieve improved welfare for their families by covering their school fees and medical expenses, without needing contributions from their husbands. Financial independence for women is on the rise!

Our farming cooperative has now been running for three years, with mothers from the centre in Bangangté. As they do not own the land they work and have not had the opportunity to go to school, women at the SBA Coop are vulnerable. They can’t get loans, they have no security of tenure for the land where they run their farming activity; goods they can lose at any time. To tackle this, we have launched a new project to support the mothers of children at our centre, to support them in reaching financial independence.

Every year in April, SBA provides seeds for bean and corn at cost. Each woman commits to paying back the seeds by the end of January the following year, subject to her ability to work the plot of land she has access to and which has been often allocated by their husbands. Harvests take place twice a year for beans and once for corn. 25% of the yield goes to SBA to feed children at the centre and 75% is for the mothers to sell at the town’s markets. They participate in the local economy and they generate their own revenues. This makes them less vulnerable to financial hardship.

Women of SBACoop Meeting of SBACoop

Thanks to the Coop, mothers of SBA children become more responsible and collectively engaged. There is healthy competition amongst them, which helps bring tangible results.
– The women have repaid all the costs either in the same year or the following year. SBA’s investment was €820 in the first year (2017), €1,120 in 2018 and €1,050 in 2019. In 2020, they have asked for €2,165 in advances.
– The 75% share of harvests they retain has allowed the SBAs mums to become financially independent from the first year. They have not needed to ask for financial help from their husbands or families since then. They are able to cover school fees, medical expenses, investments to grow their business including renting a bigger plot of land.
– This project has sustained over 2,000 meals for SBA children in 2018 and 2019.
– Given these successes, we plan to continue with the project and to invest at least €1,500 each year, to provide even more meals in our centres and support even more women towards financial independence.

The project started in 2017 with 11 mothers. There are now 17 who are members of the Coop. We congratulate and encourage them!

Cameroon: The infirmary of the Eau Claire Center has been stocked up on medicines to help those who are sick!

Thanks to the generous donation of pharmacist Martial who works at La Nouvelle Dignité pharmacy in Bangangté, we were able to stock up the pharmacy at the Eau Claire centre. We think it is an important measure to face a potential difficult time because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Djibril, the Head of the Eau Claire Center went to La Nouvelle Dignité pharmacy and explained to the young pharmacist how we are helping underprivileged children of our center but also their families notably by offering them a free access to basic healthcare. Martial was moved by our actions and donated 2500FCA worth of over-the-counter drugs to us and asserted he will try to donate more in the future. We would like to thank him warmly on behalf of SBA.

As recently announced, we have closed all our centers to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, we have decided to keep the infirmary of the Eau Claire Center open during the week as its premises were built separately from the center. The nurse of the center can therefore receive patients, however patients are of course asked to limit contact with one another and to increase the distances each of them. A gap of at least 1.5 meter must imperatively be respected by patients waiting care. A poster will be hung up on the door of the infirmary explaining these measures.

Please take care of yourself!

Our success stories: Djanabou is a 27 year-old girl who is learning to read and write at SBA!

Djanabou is a 27-year-old Muslim woman who lives in Yaoundé. She wanted to learn to read and write but could not afford to go back to school, so she got in touch with the Jardin Eden center to ask for help.

Nadège, Manager of the center immediately welcomed her in the center and started to teach her how to read and write! The young woman has been attending the center every day for the last 8 months and has made tremendous progress since her arrival!

At SBA, we are proud of offering support for all without exception and we encourage girls to make their dreams come true and to do as well as boys. We believe in the potential of African girls and women and fight for their education and the establishment of a generation of equality. Empowering girls and changing mentalities are crucial.

On the occasion of the #WomensInternationalDay on # 08March2020, we are happy to honor Djanabou and her fight for an access to education.

 

Cameroon: Help us end the stigma about menstruation!

Because a girl’s period should not be a barrier to education, we’ve decided to sponsor the distribution of menstrual hygiene products in our centers. Menstruation is really nothing to be ashamed of, Odile Prevot, our CEO has decided to start talking about it! Let’s read her thoughts here:

“If Rugby is the vector, the excuse or serves as a hook to bring pupils together out of the street, the Serge Betsen Academy is fighting for every single child to be able to go to school.

While in Cameroon and Mali these last few months I got to spend more time with the girls of our centers. As CEO of the SBA I have been focusing particularly on the girls, their education, their role, their future, their problems and how to resolve them.

A number of our girls are missing schools during their periods as they’re unable to afford sanitary products. Some of them are improvising protections using rags, leaves, newspapers. Why? Whilst menstruation is one of the most ordinary individual female experiences, the discussion of menstruation in Africa is complicated due to cultural and social attitudes.

It’s not a new problem, but it’s not going away, and it’s time to take action: a girl absent from school due to menstruation loses on average 2 weeks of learning in every school term.

In 2020, we decided to sponsor the distribution of menstrual hygiene products so that no girls shall be excluded from education, no girls shall be ashamed of menstruation, no girls shall miss class and sport activities due to their periods. Help us break down the stigma!”

 

Cameroon: Celebrating the festive seasons in our centres

Our various centres celebrated Christmas, each in their very own way this year, with great joy. Bright Christmas tree for the little ones of the Jardin Eden, Get together and dance the night away for the rugby players of Etoudi and their coach Moise, same thing at the Bafia centre and a generous dinner a Bangangté, which was embellished with beautiful decorations to celebrate Christmas and the start of 2020.

Our little ones really worked hard to decorate the place and they shared a good dinner filled with joy.

Thanks to you, friends and donors of the SBA, these children and their families contemplate the future with serenity. The education that they receive gives them hope and confidence.

Eau Claire Center during the Festive Season  Eau Claire Center during the Festive Season

Christmas and New Year Party at the Bafia Center  Christmas decoration at the Bafia center

Christmas dinner at the Bafia center  Christmas dinner at the Bafia center

Christmas dinner in Etoudi  Christmas dinner Etoudi

Christmas dinner Jardin Eden  Christmas dinner Jardin Eden

Christmas dinner Jardin Eden

Cameroon : Donations needed to run a deworming and anti-malaria campaign!

The SBA carries on growing and after setting up the education pole in Zoétélé, it is the health pole that is born at the end of the year with the presence of a nurse once a week in the centre. In this town in the middle of the bush, it is not rare to find pests and mosquitoes that transmit malaria. After only a month of consultations, the nurse asserted that it was necessary to organize a deworming and anti-malarial treatment campaign. For this we need your help as we need US$335 to conduct exams for the 25 children of the center. So you will enable them to study in good health!

We would like to thank Guillaume who donated some money and would like to ask our other generous friends to follow his path.

Contact us via contact@sergebetsenacademy.org to find out more and make a donation of any amount to help us here.

Our Success stories: Ali, a children of Bafia centre and a new Rugby Coach!

Ali is 17 yo and studies topography at Bafa Technical High School!

Ali discovered the Bafia SBA Center in 2015 and today he carries on coming three times a week (on wednesdays and during the weekends) to study mathematics and physics with his classmates.

He describes the SBA as a big family where he learned “love for his neighbor and life in community”.

That’s not all! Ali has been playing rugby since he came to the center and he loves it! He enjoys “flattening the ball and playing with all my energy” and he would like to create a rugby club. Ali was appointed Rugby Coordinator at the SBA Bafia Center a few months ago which is a great opportunity for him to show us his coaching skills!

Event: Our young SBA ambassadors shined at Salon Promote!

After receiving an invitation by Sharon Ganney and the British High Commission in Cameroon, the Serge Betsen Academy proudly took part in the 7th edition of the Salon Promote in Yaoundé this past February.

Five talented young students from our SBA centres in Bangangté and Bafia took part in the Salon to network and met different companies established in Cameroon. Our champions were accompanied by Odile Prevot, our CEO who attended the Salon during the three days and by Djibril, Manager of the Bangangté Centre. We would like to congratulate Bienvenu, Fanny, Sorelle, Baudelaire and Gilles on representing our charity during the Salon and on managing to introduce themselves to companies with such professionalism. They took part in a fruitful working session with the British High Commission in Cameroon and met with dynamic companies to learn about their activities. They notably had the chance to discuss with our friends from GreenHouse Ventures and our sponsor Victoria Oil and Gas Plc based in Douala. Through this meeting we hope that they were able to build meaningful connections for their future careers.

Odile Prevot also delivered a speech about “Rugby for education: from street idling to community champions”. She was accompanied by Fanny, who shared her experience as a Serge Betsen Academy student and gave details about the impact of our actions on her education and her life in general.

This Salon was a great opportunity for our five SBA ambassadors to develop their business network and for our charity to gain some visibility. We are proud of what they have achieved so far and we wish them all the best in their professional careers! And it seems that our team of superstars had great fun as you can see from their video 😉 :

 

Our success stories: Diane attends tutoring sessions in Bafia and makes sure that the Center is clean!

Diane is 16 years old and she studies at the Lycée Classique et Moderne in Bafia.
For the past 3 years, she has attended the SBA Center of Bafia every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. She enjoys spending time at the Center where she found herself a caring and solidary family!
Moreover, she pays a lot of attention to the cleanness of her working environment. She takes part in cleaning and cooking with Pierrette, our head cook. Diane has now been appointed responsible for the cleaning of the Center. She makes sure that the facilities are clean for our students to learn in a hygienic environment and deals with the distribution of meals. Her contribution to the Center is of great value and we love to have her set such a good precedent for our students.

Our success stories : Hermine, a devoted and beaming tutor in the Bafia center!

Our success stories : Hermine, a devoted and beaming tutor in the Bafia center!

This is Hermine. She is the Bafia Center’s second in charge. Since September 2018, she comes in every day to study nutrition, her favorite subject. 

She is in charge of the Bafia center when Jean-Cyrille is not available : she opens the Center, deals with the homeworks and organises workshops according to levels. 

Cécile, our dear volunteer has asked her what she likes most in her Center : “its dynamism, but also its friendly atmosphere : we gather and we speak about our problems, we share our secrets.”

She ends the discussion with Cécile by telling her : “I used to be shy. Now, people listen to me and I laugh a lot”.