Bangangté: Spotlight on the Tcha Kounté Family

Far from being an ordinary family, the Tcha Kounté family, of the Fatgo’o Bangangté linage, represents what we seek to achieve through our work at Serge Betsen Academy.

 

In a clay house, three generations live in a main room and a living room: the grandmother, parents and their two daughters Jessica (10 years) and Sabrina (8 years). The house is in the middle of the forest, surrounded by corn fields reaching maturity in this rainy season.

Jessica has been coming to the centre since 2008, she is delighted to come despite the one hour walk to get there. Her radiant smile wins you over the first second you see her, the intelligence of her gaze captivates you and you find she is a child out of the ordinary.

Context: we are in Western Cameroon, in a poor family. Jessica is a child sponsored by the centre * “Eau Claire”, which allows her to go to school and study centre during the days it is open and during school holidays. “I am happy to come to the centre, because there are many books in the library (the only library in the village!). We can ask the teacher when there is something you did not understand in class. You also learn to read and write Medumba ** (pronounced Medjimba). “
Jessica has passed the entrance into 6th year form (equivalent to Year 7 in UK), and she scored in the top 20 of over 600 applicants!

“Only Daddy passed this exam in the family but he did not go further.” Like Jessica, her sister Sabrina is no exception as she scored first in her class with 18 of average. They are the pride of their parents and teachers at the centre.
Jessica admits that the centre “opened her mind to the world with the computer room and internet access”, but she knows that the road is still long to accomplish her dreams of “being able to go to university”. We will endeavour to do all we can so that one day her dreams become a reality.

The Eau Claire centre functions through the hard work of director Elisabeth despite her 73 years of age.

She never stops finding new projects and seeing them to completion. The latest: the creation of a cooperative.
This cooperative, of which Jessica’s mother Marie-Claire is a founder, aims to improve the lives of families of children from the centre. In practical terms, the sum of FCFA 15,000 is allocated to each micro project: Marie-Claire whose business palm oil wholesale (buy-sell), recognises that despite a difficult economic situation “the cooperative has enabled us to improve our everyday lives”. With Marie Claire, three other mothers have benefited from this capital contribution. The cooperative has invested in the purchase of four hives that will soon be harvesting quality honey and above all a source of additional income for the women of the cooperative.

Today is the turn of English speaking*** Ernest, the guardian of the centre, to join the cooperative. His activity: carving wooden objects (statues, stools, etc.). Like a true artist, he makes traditional sculptures of great beauty.

*Jessica’s sponsorship allows amongst other things to pay for her school fees, manuals and school supplies.

** Local dialect

*** In the past Cameroon was placed in trust of the United Nations, who was represented by France and the United Kingdom.  The West part of the country is English speaking, the Centre and East parts speak French.

Bafia : Inauguration of the new centre

Previously called Rosy centre, it is now a new building which is opened every Saturday for the children.

The workers as well as our young teenagers of Bafia and their parents worked for two months on this new project which has been completed mid-January.

A computer room, a library and a drop-in clinic are now available to our children who have started again the school support.

We thank the parents and the teenagers for their efforts and their involvement in the construction of the centre. This demostrates their commitment and willigness.

Event: Christmas Lotto

Three years after our first Christmas Lotto in Biarritz, Serge Betsen Academy organised a similar event last December, at the same place, for the same cause and with the same success !

We shared this friendly and entertaining moment with Serge Betsen who distributed prizes to winners. This was a nice occasion to raise funds in favour of underprivileged children of Cameroon and particularly to complete the construction of the Bafia centre .

In the name of the children we are helping, the charity would like to thank all the participants and generous donators, as well as Nelly for her commitment to the organisation of this event.

 

Cameroon: A container of more than two tonnes

More than two and a half tonnes of various equipment were shipped to Cameroon in November 2012.

For Christmas, clothes, shoes, linens, books, sports equipment, medical equipment, toys and others were directly distributed to the children of our centres for their greatest happiness.

20 computers and 5 printers were generously provided by the CCAS (Caisse Centrale d’Activité Sociale), a work council of the French company EDF. This action helped provide our centres with a computer room available to the children. In L’Eau Claire centre where the computer room already existed, the equipment has been renewed. Two computers were donated to the school for deaf-mutes in Yaoundé.

In the name of the children, Serge Betsen Academy thanks all donors and volunteers without whom this would not have been possible.

Event: A physical challenge for a humanitarian cause

A physical challenge benefitting to underprivileged children of the desert

 

Marion and Anne, two women from Lyon, are going to take part in the cup “Roses des Sables” (http://www.enfantsdudesert.org) in order to help the children of the desert (http://trophee-roses-des-sables.net).

 

A physical challenge for a humanitarian cause: they are going to distribute at least 50 Kg of basic supplies during a Moroccan rally raid.

Starting on 11 October 2012

Serge Betsen Academy and its chairman –Serge Betsen, give all their support to Marion and Anne for this adventure!

 

>>> They did it!! After 10 days running through the Spanish and Moroccan desert , they distributed the supplies to the children before coming back to France ! 

For additional information, visit their website -> http://lyonnesdessables.trophee-roses-des-sables.org/

 

 

Cameroon: Support to the Apprentis d’Auteuil

Serge Betsen Academy supports a project of the French instituion Apprentis d’Auteuil in Douala-PK24

In July 2012, the French institution -Apprentis d’Auteuil organised an international building site for the benefit of the charity Homes of Saint Nicodème that take care of the street children in Douala. Serge Betsen Academy decided to financially support the project and attended the opening of the site.

The project:

  • Construction of two houses in the observation and stabilisation household “farm PK24”: painting, plumbing, masonry, tiling, electricity …..
  • Renovation of facilities for the reception of young

Actors:

  • 12 girls and boys from the French institution Notre Dame d’Apprentis d’Auteuil (La Loupe, 28), managed by four teachers.
  • 12 Cameroonian boys and girls, street children of Douala, who live in the St Nicodème NGOMA under the responsibility of four teachers.

Everybody lived and worked in partnership during 21 days, sharing their meals and activities. They have evolved in a context that was unknown and that was sometimes difficult to manage. Thanks to their motivation and determination, it has been a very successful mission for the benefit

Event: Charity dinner in London

On 4th October, 2012 in London, was held a charity dinner to the benefit of the Charity Serge Betsen Academy.

Thanks to Brasserie Saint Jacques. More than 70 people could share a French gourmet meal in the company of various rugby players such as Thomas Castaignede, Tom Palmer, Tim Payne and the olympic rowing champion Jean-Christophe Rolland. The evening  was chaired by Serge Betsen.

After poping the champagne, these great athletes have shared with humour and ease their field experiences and best anecdotes. Then few items were set at auction such as  framed and autographed shoes, photos and jerseys in order to raise money and help  underprivileged children in Cameroon.

 

If you want to share this moment with these great athletes, please watch this video

 

http://vimeo.com/54843264 

 

 

Bangangté: A new school in Fatgo’o

School roof that threatened to collapse is now repaired.

Many children of the centre L’Eau Claire go to the Bangangté public school. The school currently includes four classes and teaches 100 children. Because the roof threatened to collapse at any moment over the children, Serge Betsen Academy financed the project thanks to one of our sponsors (who doesn’t want to be named) and we would like to express our thanks again.

The beautiful school of Fatgo’o is now finished! The location of the headmaster’s office has changed and two rooms are now available (offices) between the classes rather than opposite. The two classrooms are each equipped with ten two-seat benches.

The Serge Betsen Academy is delighted to have accomplished this project which will allow many eager children to return to school.

Event: Charity Concert in London

Young rugby players, talented musicians, perform for the Serge Betsen Academy!

 

Nearly 100 people gathered on Saturday 30th June in the London French Institute to attend a charity concert for the benefit of the Serge Betsen Academy in Cameroon. The aim of this event was notably to support Phillipe, a 13 year-old youngster from the Eau Claire Centre in Bangangte who suffers from deafness.

We owe the initiative of this successful event to Martin Quick, a 12 years-old talented pianist and rugby player, who did convince all his friends to take part on the day and put their musical talent for the benefit of a good cause.

Serge himself and the rest of the attendance were impressed by the quality and diversity of the show offered to them. During a good hour, the young artists took centre stage performing classical and more contemporary pieces of piano, violin, trumpet, guitar and electric guitar. They all played while wearing their respective rugby kit.

It was also an opportunity for the enthusiastic crowd to discover the development work of the Serge Betsen Academy in Cameroon. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the attendees for their keen interest and generous donations towards our charitable work.

Given its resounding success, this concert has now become a regular fixture in the Serge Betsen Academy’s calendar of events.

 

A big thank you to all our talented artists:

 

Martin Quick – Rosslyn Park FC – Piano – Sonatina in F Major, 2nd mvt by Beethoven             

Henry Quick—Mascot – Piano – London Bridge, Folk song 

Charles Blagburn – Rosslyn Park FC – Guitar – Sur le pont d’Avignon                                                          

Jacques Blagburn – Rosslyn Park FC –Guitar -Galopp by Fernando Sor & El Negrito by Antonio Lauro 

Robin Hannay – Bank of England Rugby Club – Trumpet – Tequila Sunrise by Pamela Wegwood

Max Cave – Rosslyn Park FC – Electric Guitar – Running with the Devil by Van Halen               

Stephen Carrabino – St Paul’s – Piano – Sonata in C Major, K545, 1st mvt by Mozart              

Cassius Bandeen – St Paul’s – Violon – Praeludium und Allegro by Kreisler                   

Freddie Redding – Sheldon School – Piano – Waltz in E minor by Chopin               

James Carrabino – St Paul’s Piano – Impromptu No.3 in G Flat by Schubert