Friday, October 21, 2016
I was born in Belo, a small community in Northwest Cameroon, in 1975.
At the age of six, on the death of my father, I was sent to live with my aunt who took care of six children in her house. She has a humble background selling baby dresses and supported me throughout my school days. Upon leaving school, my aunt could no longer afford to support me. Although I passed my A-Levels to enter university in the hope of studying agriculture, I did not have the opportunity.
Therefore, I had to come up with an alternative profession where I could still have an impact on the region and which I could afford. I dreamt of something where I could use my hands and something that would make an independent source of income. Not least, I have always enjoyed the taste of our neighbour’s sweet honey, so I decided to become a beekeeper, I researched what was required and joined several associations to enable me to attain my full potential.
I received the certificate of the British Beekeepers Association (BBK) and developed a strong interest in training other people. Progress was slow so some friends (with complementary skills) and I formed our own organization. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful with our funding application and had to shut down the operation. I still had the thought in my head to come back to my childhood community. I knew the people, culture, traditions and environment that are unique to Belo; hence it made perfect sense for me to base my work here. As a result, I founded Rural Development Centre (RUDEC) along with some supporters in 2006; we had to surmount many obstacles to get the project off the ground.
RUDEC was formed with the mission to serve the neediest members of the rural communities of Cameroon's Boyo Division by creating educational, social and economic empowerment projects.
The project I am proudest of is the "Orphan and Destitute Children Project" which aims to cover the educational, health and basic needs of 57 orphans. They stay with families of our community that take care of them while RUDEC is highly dependent on donors to provide for the children's school fees, materials, uniforms, medical bills, and training programs thus offering them a brighter future. We strive to give them a good start in life. Especially at the end of summer RUDEC often struggles to support the families, financially, because of hefty back-to-school-costs. Consequently, we constantly reach out to develop opportunities for funding.
On a long-term basis, I dream that girls would no longer have to sell their bodies just to be able to buy books. I dream education will result in a deeper understanding and awareness of poor hygiene, HIV and tuberculosis, as in many cases this is what lead to the death of their parents. I also dream of reaching even more children in rural areas and providing for their education.
If RUDEC had the means I would like to install a permanent office with permanent staff that I can connect with, rely on and where both sides have the opportunity to grow. A community centre that would become a social hub thus enabling empowerment of those most vulnerable in our community.
This scholarship that I have been selected for will help me to acquire a vast range of skills that I will be able to use to achieve the realization of these projects.
Moreover, I would love RUDEC to become self-sustainable. Currently, we are constantly seeking financial support to enable us to fund our Orphan’s education and care.
Our current projects comprise of selling honey from our hives, pig rearing with a view to selling the animals and a women’s micro-finance project that though generating small returns is vital for the self sufficiency of these women.
Kanthari International Institute (India) educates people who are solution-driven without considering where participants come from, what social background they have or if they are physically impaired. Nor does it limit the participant’s approach to social change. This way of thinking is in line with the envisioned community centre of RUDEC, where everybody is welcomed and we make every effort to involve the whole community.
This program opens up the great opportunity of meeting, exchanging and networking with people from all over the world that have different perspectives and approaches in terms of ethical social change in their communities.
I would welcome this chance to learn from them. In order to build a reliable funding for the orphan project I need further skills in business development planning, proposal and report writing. To reach out to donors and promote our work and volunteering with RUDEC I need to strengthen my knowledge in marketing, use of social media and public speaking.
I experienced what it is like to be partly an orphan; I faced difficulties of going to school, could not afford to graduate. Nonetheless, I am grateful I had support and directions throughout my childhood. This is why the Orphan and Destitute Children Project is the heart of our work at RUDEC.
Your support will enable me to obtain a proper education and the required skills to enable me to make my dreams for Belo, RUDEC and my community become reality.
ESTIMATED COST OF WHOLE TRIP
Flight: 800,000 XAF
Student Visa: 160,000 XAF
Student 1 year insurance: 90,000 XAF
Health check report: 60,000 XAF
Caution: 150,000 XAF
Expenses: 300,000 XAF
Transport: 55,000 XAF
Approximate Total 1,600,000CFA (2,500 €)
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Hello to all supporters, RUDEC is in need of a skilled volunteer with skills in online fundraising and networking to come and join us for a couple of months for a pre-Christmas challenge! This internship can be done from your home country as well as from Cameroon.
RUDEC struggles every year before the school year begins to collect enough donations for all the orphans to be able to start a new chapter in their education. We want to change our approach for donations for the orphan project in two aspects.
First, we want to start collecting donations for the orphans before Christmas. As you know, the holidays are a good time to initiate big fundraisers anyway, because somehow the whole world finds their conscience at this time. Also, sponsoring a child's well-being is a much better and a more heart-felt gift than a book or a pair of socks.
Second, we want to become a permanent member of GlobalGiving. In order to become a member, the non-profit needs to do a challenge first: raising 5000 dollars from 40 unique donors in one month. It requires a full-time volunteer working on it and as the fundraising lasts one month, we think the duration of the stay of this volunteer should be between 6 and 8 weeks (and of course – go home for Christmas knowing you have made a change...or at least tried :))
The tasks for the volunteer:
· registering with GlobalGiving and getting all required documents up and approved with the help of Joshua (could be done before arriving in Cameroon – seehttps://www.globalgiving.org/
non-profits/join-globalgiving/ application.html to know what awaits);
· create the project on the website – and make it sound pretty, add photos, share details about RUDEC’s work etc needed to demonstrate how the donations will be used to make a difference;
· networking within own networks to find donors as well as sending countless e-mails to big donors across the world;
· preparing videos, pictures etc during the month to encourage donations.
If the project is succesful, RUDEC will be a permanent member of GlobalGiving, thus accessing a network of giant corporations alongside our usual donors, which will benefit the orphan project greatly. If not... well, we tried. We will always manage in other ways.
As we said, this internship can be done from your home country as well as from Cameroon. If the volunteer chooses to do it online and from home, RUDEC will still give a certificate for having completed an internship with us, inc volunteering hours, so that it can be used for school applications and CV in the future.
If visiting Cameroon is a must (and it should be a must for everyone at least once in their lives), then a house in Belo and a cook are awaits. Same prices and contribution sizes as for all other incoming volunteers apply. See more at http://rudec.org/join-us/
Please share this message amongst your friends and help us find the perfect person to join us for this project and challenge their skills for the greater good! As always, there is no age limit. This could be perfect for someone retired, taking a year off, a stay at home mom or someone working half-time. Everyone interested is encouraged to contact us on Facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Happy August to all our supporters! The upcoming 2016/2017 school year is closing in fast so this is an open call to everyone and anyone to lend a hand. RUDEC has been supporting orphaned and destitute children in the rural community of Belo since 2006. The orphans are placed within the homes of big-hearted local families and RUDEC takes care of their nutritious, health and general needs. At the same time, great focus is put on their education by paying for their school and exam fees, uniforms as well as books and other needed material for school.
Thanks to the fundraising of international volunteers, all school and exam fees can be paid for the past school year in September 2016. 10 of the orphans have individual sponsors, but 47 of them still need our help with raising enough money to buy the school books and school material for them.
List of items needed:47 English text and exercise books - 365€47 French text and exercise books – 332€47 Mathematics text and exercise books - 339€Exercise books for every subject for all the children - 234€6 Sets of Literature Books for Secondary School Children - 128€47 Sets of School Material including, for both primary and secondary children- pen, pencil, ruler and eraser. Technical School children will receive further material such as calculators, drawing boards etc. - 104€
Click the "Donate now" button on our webpage, choosing the online donating version if you prefer using Paypal and choosing the offline donating version to do a bank transfer. We also accept donations via bank transfer:Account Holder: RUDEC Cameroon
IBAN: CM21 1003 4000 1091 1200 5000 748
SWIFT/BIC Code: ATCRCMCM
Account Number: 10034 00010 911200 50007
Bank Name: BANQUE ATLANTIQUE CAMEROUN
or via our account in Germany:
Account Holder: RUDEC Germany Germany
IBAN: DE53 6309 0100 0314 7750 05
SWIFT/BIC Code: ULMVDE66
Account Number: 314775005
Bank Name: Volksbank Ravensburg Bankleitzahl: 63090100
RUDEC and all the 47 children already want to say thank you for your support and contribution! If you have further questions about this specific project or RUDEC and our work in general, feel free to contact us at any time at email@example.com!
Friday, April 22, 2016
RUDEC Cameroon has women and children at heart and looks at livelihood activities that would continue to empower them for a better living and health of their children. In our Kom culture "one man's child is only on the stomach" join us and let better the life of women through diversify projects..
Thursday, April 21, 2016
We are Jonas and Lynn, two German-American volunteers currently working for RUDEC. When Joshua told us about the Beekeeping Project, we were fascinated and enthusiastic to push the project forward as much as possible in our 6-week stay in Belo.
The first thing we wanted to do was visit the RUDEC bee farm. Before we could do that, however, we had to build two more beehives that we could take and install on the farm. This process was already really exciting for us as it was our very first time seeing how beehives are made.
|Jonas baiting a hive|
We were then ready to visit the bee farm. After a 45 minute bumpy motorcycle ride and a walk through the field, we finally arrived. We were amazed how large RUDEC’s piece of land is – and our excitement grew when we saw the 50 beehives that were already scattered on the land. Now came our favorite part, Joshua showed us how the beehives are installed.
We then got to “bate” the hives ourselves – the process of waxing the beehives to attract bees to naturally colonize them.
After a long, exhausting day, we drove back home happy and content.
The following week, we got to work. We were motivated to get as many of our family and friends at home to donate a beehive. After making a financial overview of the project, we made an informational flyer about the project as a whole as well as donation options.
We then went on Facebook and spread the word – with success: in the course of 1,5 weeks, over 12 beehives were donated!
In the meantime, we critically noticed how the delicious pure RUDEC honey stood unnoticed in opaque plastic containers without any label whatsoever. Lynn designed an advertisement poster to hang up on the shelves next to the honey. We then both designed new honey labels. Together with Joshua, we drove to Bamenda on the search for better honey containers. After a long search, we finally found what we were looking for and headed home with a huge bag full of containers.
|RUDEC Homemade honey|
We were very proud of the final outcome.
When we received all the money from the beehive donations, we got to work. After buying all the materials and assembling them, we custom inscribed each of the hives (a new feature we had thought of).
Sadly, we were not able to carry all of the 16 beehives at once to the bee farm, but we started off with two and installed them on the farm.
|Donated hives with personal inscriptions|
In our last week in Belo we plan on installing the rest of the donated hives.
Follow this blog as well as ask people to support RUDEC in this project.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
On January 20th 2016, we, Lynn and Jonas, two German-Americans living in Berlin, travelled to Cameroon. We were had just finished high school and decided to volunteer for three months in an
Upon arriving in Belo, we immediately fell in love with the small rural town. The climate was nice and the hilly landscape was beautiful. We arrived not really knowing what project we were going to work on, yet quickly focused on the beekeeping project: We traveled to the farm three times (45 minute ride) and installed more than 20 beehives, many of which were funded through a fundraising campaign we set into motion.
We greatly enjoyed working with RUDEC because of its close ties to the community and extremely proactive approach: If you think of an initiative that could help the community, nothing is stopping you from starting to realize it, with RUDEC’s help, the next day.
Nonetheless, volunteering in Cameroon, with RUDEC is not for everyone. We think you will love volunteering with RUDEC if you 1) get along well with others in ambigious, real-life situations despite miscommunications and unforeseen challenges and 2) work independently and are intrinsically motivated to make a change. RUDEC will support you, but no one will hold your hand or tell you what to do.
At the writing of this testimonial, international press coverage of Cameroon is nearly exclusively negative and focused on terrorist attacks in Central and Western Africa. These warnings are valid; however they apply only to the northern regions of Cameroon (counterintuitively, the North-West isn’t anywhere near northern Cameroon). Unlike all the western countries we have visited, the Cameroonian military operates many checkpoints within its own territory. If you stay in the North-West, South-West, Central, Littoral or Western regions, it is just about as safe as living in Istanbul, Turkey even though there is fighting in ‘nearby’ Syria. We felt safe at all times – everyone we met, including the military personnel at checkpoints were helpful and welcoming. Nevertheless, you should still keep an eye on any developments before your trip and act with reasonable caution while you are here.
We hope that describing our experiences has helped you come to a decision about whether you want to volunteer with RUDEC or not. Of course, we hope you decide to go to Belo – We would come back any day!