Volunteer: Nadege, Manager of the Jardin Eden centre

Nadege started working for the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) in 2010. She first got to know the wives of two expatriates; they were involved in a project for a children centre. These two ladies then approached the SBA and this is how the story between Nadege and the SBA started in Yaoundé.

Nadege is a housewife and she goes every afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jardin Eden centre to look after the children aged 5 to 11. Drawing, colouring, painting, mathematics, French, English … the children do not have time to get bored!

Through games, songs and after-school tutoring, Nadège wishes to convey values to children such as: “respect, sharing, love, the taste for work and the fellowship between children and adults”. And she adds: “the children bring me lots of pride, serenity … I love to see them smile, grow and flourish. Their progress is my pride!”

From the bottom of her heart Nadege thanks the donors: “The children here are special, they don’t have much but they do wonders with the little they have! Please continue to help our little ones and our young people, they work so hard!”

Translation by Katy Birgé-Wilson

Volunteer: Jean-Cyrille, Manager of the Bafia centre

Jean-Cyrille Monthe is in charge of the Bafia centre but is also a Senior Education Advisor.

He was born in the capital Yaoundé but he fell in love with the Bafia region (some 130Km away, to the north) and decided to live there. In 2007, he discovered the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA), and since he has worked hard to help children develop and gain self-confidence through after-school tutoring and sport.

Jean-Cyrille was keen to create a Large Family where mutual aid and sharing are the key words! His typical day: “It’s a day of coaching and advice; children are not alone!” As for rugby: this “slightly wacky sport” allows his students to learn team spirit, solidarity and creativeness!

It is with great enthusiasm and emotion that he thanks all the volunteers and donors of the SBA for their involvement and support.

 

Translation by Katy Birgé-Wilson

Volunteer: Abaa, Manager of the Zoétélé centre

Abaa discovered rugby at the University of Yaoundé. Following an ill-treated injury, he put his career aside to promote the practice of rugby in rural areas! This is how he came to choose Zoétélé, his mother’s village, to share his passion for rugby with the children.

In 2009, he met for the first time the coaches of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) who were offering training for rugby coaches. In 2013, he became rugby coordinator in Cameroon for the SBA and it was the year 2018 in which he assumed the role of manager of our new school support centre in Zoétélé.

During rugby training and after-school tutoring sessions, Abaa wants the centre to become a place of expression for these children. He also wants to convey values such as respect, sharing, going beyond oneself, altruism and living together.

His word to donors? : “Please, continue to support us as you do and give us strength, we have work to do!”

Translation by Katy Birgé-Wilson

Volunteer: Djibril, Manager of the Eau Claire centre in Bangangté

Djibril has worked for the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) for over 10 years and is now the manager of the Eau Claire centre in Bangangté, a city in the West of Cameroon. Born locally, he works hard day after day allowing children to have access to after-school tutoring lessons in the best possible conditions. Keen on welcoming the children in the best possible way, afternoon snacks and meals are provided twice a week to allow children to study on a full stomach!

Very involved in the community and his city where he knows everyone and is known from everyone too, Djibril was also project manager for the works carried out on the Netah nursery school, supported by the SBA. He regularly pays visits to the children of the school and notably led a discovery and initiation rugby session in March.

On the sporting side, he is in charge of the Bangangté rugby team. He is however more familiar with combat sports and swimming, but still Djibril gives a lot of his time and energy to encourage his young people to flourish in this sport.

Djibril would like to “warmly thank the volunteers and donors for the help they provide” and adds: “Thanks to your support, the academic results are excellent and we can see the pride on the faces of our young people when they hold their diploma in their hand”.

Translation by Katy Birge-Wilson

 

Djibril

Volunteer: Josephine is doing research to help us launch new SBA projects.

A big welcome to Josephine, our new volunteer!

Josephine was at the Lycee Rochambeau in Washington DC. Holding her French Baccalaureate since Friday afternoon! CONGRATS, she is doing an internship at the Serge Betsen Academy USA until the end of the month alongside our CEO, Odile Prevot before starting her Bachelor in Political Science at McGill in Montreal. Using her analytical skills, Josephine is working on our new projects.  Stay tuned to find out more!

Josephine’s help is much appreciated and we would like to THANK her on behalf of all the SBA children.

Partnership: Our Rugby project for Kids has received a “Sport & Development” grant!

It is with great pride and joy that we can announce that our project “Rugby for Kids (girls and boys)” is one of the winners of, and as such has been awarded funding by, Sport & Développement (Sport & Development), a programme of the ONG La Guilde (The European Guild), supported by AFD – Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency).

At the Jardin Eden centre, the end of 2019 saw the budding start of an initiation to rugby carried out by Moise our coach at Etoudi and this try was successfully converted. This programme will be able to take on a new dimension thanks to this “Sport & Development” grant of 20,000 € ($ 22,680). 50 kids will indeed be able to discover rugby, respect, team spirit, healthy competition, avoid the “girls-boys” stereotypes and benefit from a structured education and medical care. We are so happy for these children and their families who, thanks to this programme, will have an easier daily life and a better future.

This programme will be set up in the Jardin Eden centre of Yaoundé and the centre of Zoétélé starting from August 2020. It will benefit 26 girls and 24 boys, aged from 2 to 13, from deprived families. They have hoped to play rugby for so many years, watching their big brothers and sisters of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) and their dream will come true sooner than expected!

The  kids will play rugby once a week, in a way designed as a safe awakening activity and will discover the fundamentals of this sport and its values. They will benefit very early on from a structured education on the rugby field but also on the benches of our centres during after school tutoring classes. They will be able to participate in these classes every afternoon from Monday to Friday at the Jardin Eden centre and on Saturdays and Sundays at the Zoétélé centre, throughout the whole year.

They will also have access to basic health care. They will go through an initial medical check-up, organised in August 2020, and then will carry on having medical monitoring throughout the project. In addition, on training days the children will enjoy a snack and will be taught hygiene rules.

We would warmly like to thank the ONG La Guilde (The European Guild) and AFD – Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency) for their support and their trust, as well as Michèle Quenardel, our volunteer for all the help given to our team in responding to the call for projects.

We can’t wait to get the little ones from the SBA playing! Do not forget to follow the set-up of the #Rugby4Kids project on our social networks, because this project will make happy players and maybe we’ll see the emergence of mini Serge Betsens!

Translation by Katy Birgé-Wilson

 

Thank you: During this challenging and difficult period we have been fortunate to be supported by many of you!

We would like to sincerely thank all those who came and helped our children during this period of crisis. Our first thoughts go towards the managers of our centres who are managing the food distribution and also to Christelle, our volunteer from the Jardin Eden centre who is generously handing out afternoon snacks to the children living close to hers.

We would also like to thank all our sponsors who continue to be alongside us despite the challenging context. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Carole who organised a fundraising through Facebook for her birthday. Thanks to Carole and her friends, two Cameroonian designers were able to make 282 reusable masks for the children of our centres.

Finally our thanks go to our new volunteers Brice, France, Claire, Kathryn, Florent, Marc and Arnaud who have recently dedicated some of their time to do some translation and research works for the SBA.

We’re happy to see the SBA family growing!

Cameroon: Besides Covid-19 our children are still at risk of multiple other threats

Odile Prevot wishes to share her concerns on the multiple threats looming over the future of our children and their families. Africa’s population is young with 60% of Africans aged below 25; Covid-19 is a severe threat but the continent is still most affected by HIV, malaria and malnutrition, with around 2.5 million victims each year despite the existence of treatments.

SBA children live with less than $1,8 a day and while exchanging with one of our manager, he reported that “for some children being in lockdown means nothing, lockdown measures are for wealthy people. For us we have to work to get food”. This is the reason why we at SBA need you. It is to feed and treat the children. Last week the Eau Claire centre took care of 5 children who contracted malaria, one of them with a severe fever. He managed to get through it but how many will not? The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning: “The number of Malaria deaths in Sub Saharan Africa may reach up to 769,000 in 2020, hence doubling the number reported in 2018. Such a high mortality rate was not recorded in the past 20 years”.

We should absolutely not forget that malaria is still a day to day threat in Africa and kills even more than Covid-19.

Please help our children against malaria by making a donation!

Cameroon: Help us feed our children and save lives during the pandemic!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) families living in desperate conditions are especially vulnerable. Our new priority is therefore to fight hunger by distributing food to these families.

After implementing further hygiene procedures in our centres and educating our volunteers and the children, the SBA board took the decision to close all centres in order to limit the spread of the virus, and to protect our children, their families and our team. Only the Eau Claire infirmary is still open in order to help those who are sick in the village.

We have disinfected all the centres and set up an emergency food assistance scheme. Since our centres closed on March 18, each child has already received two bags of food, with essential items making us the meals normally served in our centres.

Our goal is to cope with food insecurity by organizing at least one round of food distribution per week in our centres.  The managers of our centres will always try to diversify the food they offer depending on the supply available in the village markets.

If you would like to help us, the best way is to make a financial donation so that we can distribute more food to the SBA supported families. You can either make a one-off donation for the amount of your choice, or become one of our sponsors by making monthly donations.

 

EVERY $1 YOU DONATE PROVIDES 6 MEALS TO OUR KIDS!

Help us fight children hunger now!

 

Please find here some photos of our food distributions:

 

Distribution of food at the Eau Claire centre:

 Food distribution at the Eau Claire centre

 

  Distribution Eau Claire centre 

 

Distribution to our rugbymen in Bangangté

Distribution in Bangangté

Distribution at the Bafia centre

Distribution in Bafia

 

Distribution at the Zoétélé centre

 

Cameroon: Face masks sewing in progress to fight coronavirus!

During the coronavirus pandemic, the health of our children and their families as well as the one of our on-site staff is our priority. As you know, the centers of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) have been closed since March 18 to reduce the spread of the virus. Now, we are focusing our efforts on making and distributing washable face masks which are commonly called mufflers in Cameroon. 

Last week, we asked Abaa, the Manager of the Zoétélé Centre to find seamstresses. Two seamstresses quickly settled in the center and started working. Meanwhile we asked our generous donor, Carole if we could use the money she raised through her Facebook birthday fundraiser to buy fabric and pay the two seamstresses for the creation of 286 washable and reusable masks.

As the Zoétélé Centre has been transformed in a place for making face masks, it is disinfected with bleach at the entrance and exit of the two seamstresses. Merlin, our driver will be responsible for shipping the masks to the SBA centres of Jardin Eden and Bafia. As for the Eau Claire Center in Bangangté, we are in discussion with a foundation who is supposed to offer us the required face masks.

Sewers in Zoétélé