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Call for donations: Collection of rugby boots and sport shoes in progress

Friends of the Paris and Toulouse regions, we need your sport shoes and rugby boots!

Our young people are truly enjoying rugby, even barefoot or in flip flops.  Still we would really like to give them sport shoes or rugby boots so that they can train in better conditions.

If you have any of these treasures in good condition (child or adult sizes) in your closets, please send us a photo along with the size of the shoes by email (contact@sergebetsenacademy.org), so that we can see if they would suit one of our budding rugby players.  They will for sure make someone happy.

Thank you so much to all of you who have already shared our call and made a donation.

Our favourite physiotherapist, Major Mouvement has published some great stories on his Instagram account to give us a helping hand and we thank him!

Major Mouvement's call for donation

Translation : Katy Birgé-Wilson

 

Cameroon: Our SBA Coop has tripled its crop production

Four years ago, our CEO, Odile Prevot offered to some mothers of the children we help, the opportunity to create a farming cooperative in Bangangté. She has been closely following their progress, meeting them virtually every month. So far, this cooperative has enabled 17 women to grow their income and has had a positive impact on the lives of their families and the ones of our children. Odile and all the Serge Betsen Academy are very proud of their achievements and their ambitions. She decided to write the following notes to honour these brave women and share with you their success story:

“How creating financial independence for women leads to sustainability?

Back in 2016 while visiting one of our centers in Cameroon, I was sitting in the classroom with a few of the mothers of the children we help. We have known each other for a number of years now and they are always in demand for stories coming from Europe and America.

Whilst seating with one of their babies on my lap, health and education were our main topics of discussion. They explained that, although the duty of the man is to provide a house and cover the main household’s costs, it is up to the mothers to take care of the children and all the costs associated with raising them. However unlike men, their access to financial resources is very limited. One of the mothers, Clotilde, expressed her concern that her working in the fields was not enough to provide for her children’ school fees and other expenses and asked for help as she knew that with the right resources, she could grow more crops and make ends meet.

Other mothers joined in and the discussion became very animated. Realizing it was a common problem, which could become an opportunity if they joined forces, I offered them to consider a cooperative framework, where the mothers would take responsibility over the operations and the management of COOP. The role of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) would be to provide oversight and the seed funding at the beginning of the year, and in return the COOP would reimburse the funding 12 months later and share a portion of the crops during the year, in order to help feed the children of the SBA center.

And just like that, the SBA COOP was created, the lawyer in me wanted to create a sustainable structure so I drafted the COOP bylaws following OHADA principles, with 11 mothers as founders with the SBA providing corn and bean seeds funding, producing 450kg of corn and 342kg of beans at year-end.

We are now four years later, the COOP has tripled its crop production, provided enough extra income for the mothers to finally afford to pay all their kids expenses, and in some cases allowing some of the mothers to start new businesses, becoming increasingly financially independent.

This incredible success story has also been very positive for the SBA, which was not only always repaid on time by the COOP, but it helped the center in becoming more sustainable as the COOP now provides enough food to feed more than 130 kids of the SBA center throughout the year, totaling nearly 4000 meals.  

Today this micro-financing scheme, offered to the moms, helps them to deal with emergencies, make critical purchases that they could not otherwise afford and put food on the table in times of scarcity, even start new business ventures! But more than that, they are all empowered to speak out more, they assume leadership roles. When I meet them virtually every month we make sure that SBA COOP is an opportunity to meet formally with all the other moms to discuss problems and develop joint actions.

So proud of our rural women. They are working as hard, or more, as the men next to them with less income and as member of civil society we must use our convening power to build capacity and resilience when assisting women in need.”

Odile Prevot

A meeting of the SBA Coop

Cameroon: Renovation of the Netah nursery school, allowing for 40% more students

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support of the Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation, Netah’s preschool is looking great. The school has indeed been renovated and sanitary facilities have been installed in order to accommodate a total of 60 children in better conditions.

This school was built by parents which is quite common in Cameroon. As the budget allocated to the national education is not sufficient, the children of our centre had no space in the nursery school.

In January 2019, the SBA board announced the implementation of these works, carried out thanks to the 9 million CFA Francs (= 13,725 Euros) collected for this purpose. Serge Betsen, Odile Prévot and Sébastien Lovy were filled with joy when they announced the news to teachers and parents during their trip. One of the objectives of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) is, as you know, to facilitate access to education for the children of our centres and their classmates.

Netah avant les travaux

In February 2019, Atelewa, a construction company in Cameroon, began the work to allow the school to welcome new children in better conditions as from the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Netah travaux en cours en février 2019 école de Nétah rénovée avec sanitaires

In September 2019, the children returned to school in a new, well-equipped building. It is a source of enormous satisfaction for the SBA to see these children studying in such good condition.

Djibril, the manager of the Eau Claire centre in Bangangté, also visits the school from time to time to talk to the head teacher and the children. During one of his visits, he made the most of it and coached a rugby session. It’s always moving to see such small children trying their hand at rugby! And for some of them, it was the very first time they saw an oval ball!

We wish these children great learning and more than anything a bright future, and we would like to thank the Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation and our donors for their fabulous generosity allowing these children to grow up and dream of a promising professional future.

 

Translation : Katy Birgé-Wilson