Cameroon

Population:  23,739,218
Percent Below Poverty Line: 48%

The plight of the people in Cameroon is similar to those in the United States as far as their diseases and physical ailments, but they suffer far greater infrastructure issues. People are denied medical care when they cannot pay, children are denied education when the only school in the region is at maximum capacity – or has become unsafe to use! Cameroon has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Africa, and with your support more children can grow up with an education. They will be able to work in hospitals, become engineers, and become the keys to success in their communities.

Explore the tabs below to learn more about our mission in Cameroon.

St. Mary’s School

About

Their Story

When Fr. Eugen (pictured to the right of Fr. Elvis and Mike Drapeau) was young he attended a small school that was in rough shape called St. Mary’s in Nkar, Cameroon. Today St. Mary’s serves 250 children and the building is very old and dilapidated. St. Mary’s was built in the 1960s to serve the local community of Nkar. Today there are 9,000 people in Nkar and St. Mary’s school wishes it could accommodate more children and provide a safe learning environment for their students. Windows at St. Mary’s are boarded up for safety and the roof is starting to cave in. Fr. Eugen, once a child in the village, is now the pastor in Nkar and he is fighting for the children to have a safe and secure future. St. Mary’s currently has no running water, no toilets for the children, and no electricity. The roof is caving in, and the classrooms are more of a threat than an opportunity. Parents are so desperate for an education for their children they send them to St. Mary’s despite the safety concerns surrounding the building!

The people of Nkar, Cameroon live 10 miles south of the closest “urban” city in a tiny rural village. They have few resources and little opportunities to break the cycle of poverty for them or their families. Imagine their joy when they heard that Catholic World Mission would join in the effort of raising funds to make their school safe again! The students are all so excited about the promise of a new school. It is an answered prayer. When the children heard you would help they spread the good news quickly and soon the whole school was abuzz with excitement!

“Did you hear our class teacher talking with Fr. Eugen about our new school to be built?”

“I hear that it will be like the schools in America with toilets, TVs, water and electricity.”

“And a canteen too with books, pencils, colors, and biscuits!”

The villagers have already given Fr. Eugen land for the school to be built on! The community is looking forward to June, when construction of the school is scheduled to begin. This is where we need you to join in on our mission. We only have hope that donations will come in for St. Mary’s but with your help today the reconstruction of St. Mary’s will be possible!

School

Help Us Reconstruct St. Mary’s School!

With your help we can take the second step in giving children an education in a safe environment to promote the dignity of life! More volunteers are coming forward this June to reconstruct St. Mary’s school and expand with two additional buildings for the children. St. Mary’s is run by the Diocese of Kumbo, and they long to see the area thrive. To help these people we must address their long-term needs: education, security, and protecting the dignity of life. The blueprints are already done for the school but they need your help raising the funds to build it!

Illuminating the minds of more children in Nkar helps break the cycle of poverty not only for their community, but for every community they in turn help. In scripture it says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” Matthew 13:31-32

Partnering with Catholic World Mission donors like you, we know our mission will reach beyond Nkar and touch neighboring villages because we reach out with the hands of Christ. We may think we are only helping children in Nkar receive an education, but we have seen how members of one community have gone forward to help others, and to bring the light of Christ from Catholic World Mission with them.

Testimony

Fr. Eugen’s Testimony of the Need at St. Mary’s School

Updates

October 2018

Fr. Eugen, our beloved partner, just sent us a dire update:

“English-speaking Cameroon is going through a horrible moment. For three weeks I knew nothing about my family in Nkar and those in Kumbo and beyond, because the pro-independence fighters in their fight against government forces cut off the roads, dug deep trenches across the roads, and destroyed bridges. No communication network, no electricity, and we are still living under curfew from 6 pm to 6 am now for months. Last Saturday, I was able to talk to my elder brother, and everyone is safe.

“Every work stopped. No schools all over anglophone Cameroon. We have been indoors for two weeks now. Gunshots everywhere. No public work or activity is going on. We hope these days war will not break out full fledged once with the declaration of the upcoming election results. Pray for us. We had to stop the work at Nkar for security reasons. As soon as we can resume, I will keep you posted. Keep us in your prayers.”

Please join us in praying for Fr. Eugen, Cameroon, and especially the students of St. Mary’s School.

April 2017

In Nkar, Cameroon, the situation is currently distressing. The children have had to stop in the middle of their school year due to the electricity and water in the whole northern half of Cameroon being shut off because of political unrest and civil war. Fr. Eugen contacted us with his request for our prayers and to thank us for all that we have done to give them hope:

“Thanks for giving us hope with the shipment… …we need you and all the help we can get. Speaking English has become our crime and misfortune for being Cameroonians – 8 million people! The situation in Cameroon is far from resolved… Pray for us.”

-Fr. Eugen 

Summer 2016

St. Mary’s School in Nkar, Cameroon is undergoing some major renovations! The old school is crumbling, the ceiling is falling down, and the roof has caved in some classrooms. Thanks to your generosity we were able to begin construction of a new, safe school for the children. It is a huge community effort. In June, land and crops were cleared to construct the new building! Locals have donated almost all of the labor, splitting their time between building the school and working their own land and crops. They know that the school is the only way the children will break free from the cycle of poverty.

Locals will dig over 50 pillars to support the new two-story classroom! Each pillar is ten feet deep and takes hundreds of concrete blocks to build one pillar. Every day volunteers come out to mix the cement and to make hundreds of concrete blocks. The concrete blocks take over 27 days to cure!

The community is so excited to see the school coming together and to know that they were part of making it a reality. The children are always trying to give a hand and check in on the progress. When the school is completed there will be over 12 classrooms! Over 300 children will attend St. Mary’s this coming year thanks to you!

How Can You Help

Our most urgent need is to make St. Mary’s School safe. The plan for St. Mary’s is to expand the school into two single-level replacement structures. One will be a nursery for the young children, and the other for grades 1-8. This building will be across the road from the current school and will have power and water, and can support a larger student population! Once the new school building is available classes will begin and repairs on the old school will start! You can be the miracle the students at St. Mary’s long to see.

 

With your help:

  • we can raise $200,000 for St. Mary’s reconstruction.
  • the children can study for exams even when the sun sets because they will have electricity.
  • parents will no longer have to fear the roof caving in.
  • all of the children from Nkar can attend school.

Help make the children’s dreams come true by rebuilding St. Mary’s in Cameroon today.

Our Lady of Fátima Water Project

About

For the first time ever the people of Nkar, Cameroon have clean water!

“It was amazing to see the generosity of not only the Catholic World Mission donors who gave to support this water well, but also of the Nkar people first hand that came out to dig through a muddy, bacteria infested stream to get to the water source and pump it through filtration to bring clean water to the village.”

Stephanie Lange, CWM Operations Manager, June 2016

For years, the locals got their water from a contaminated stream. The children would drink the water but would get so sick they couldn’t even attend school! A clean water source allows the children to attend school without stomach aches or pains; it prevents them from developing waterborne diseases like trachoma and cholera.

When locals approached the local parish priest, Fr. Paul, about having found a natural spring, he was hopeful but concerned they might have trouble getting permission to use the natural spring. But the owner of the property walked up as they were inspecting the site and gave the land to the community!

The locals immediately picked up their pickaxes and shovels to begin digging to the source. Even more people came out to dig a path for piping to the village, and took turns being knee deep in the muddy water to get to the source of the spring.

Updates

A Crowd of Villagers Gather to Witness Fr. Paul Bless the Well

In May the natural spring was dug, a basin for water was constructed, and the locals have celebrated the gift of clean water over and over! As of September 2016 the water well was blessed by Fr. Paul Verla Wirsiy and his brother priest for the community.

The water well was christened “Our Lady of Fátima Water Project” in thanksgiving for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary after a Sunday Mass.

This water well is bringing clean water to over 10,000 people, and providing enough water for both St. Mary’s School and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

See more photos of the water well below:

Thank You

How Can You Help

Give Now

Our Lady of Fatima Water Project is almost complete! The well does not have a generator, and when locals need water they must go to see how much the reservoir has filled before they can fill their buckets for the day.

Unlike in America, water will not be pumped to every house in Nkar, but to the hospital, school, and the church. A generator will pump water from the source faster, and will spare the community hours of waiting for clean water to fill. Fr. Eugen says when the water reservoir is not filled in the morning the locals still look to other sources for water, including contaminated streams and puddles!

We need your support to finish the water well for Nkar and provide a vital lifeline to the community!

Give now to donate vital funds needed for the Our Lady of Fatima water well!

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

About

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is a Beacon of Healing

Work is already being done to uplift this community out of poverty! In the past year, volunteers led by missionary Mike Drapeau visited Nkar to build a medical clinic. The medical clinic, Our Lady of Lourdes, is a beacon of healing. The construction of Our Lady of Lourdes Clinic was the first step in alleviating the suffering of the people in Nkar, Cameroon.

The local hospital is 10 miles away from Nkar, and people travel to it on foot. Many mothers have given birth on the way to the hospital, and then have to carry their baby the rest of the way. Sometimes when people get to the hospital they find out they cannot pay the fees and are cast out. Our Lady of Lourdes Clinic brings hope and healing to families right in Nkar.

In June 2016, volunteers not only traveled to Nkar to help build the school, but medical personnel went with them to help train the local people on how to use medical equipment for the hospital! Teaching local staff how to perform simple procedures and triage sick locals helps the community because many people don’t always know when they should travel to large hospitals to be seen.

Nkar Needs a Hospital

Visit to the USA

Bishop George Expresses His Gratitude with a Visit to the USA!

Bishop George of the Diocese of Kumbo, Cameroon, recently visited us at Catholic World Mission to discuss Nkar, and share his gratitude and concerns. Bishop George expressed his concern for Cameroon and the disregard for the dignity of life there. He shared that Our Lady of Lourdes medical clinic will be the first that does not require people to pay when they need medical care. Bishop George spoke of the horrors poor families face when they go to hospitals: pregnant mothers with their unborn children have died in the street because they could not pay the hospital fees.

Bishop George left an ache in our hearts for the people of Cameroon, and we pray their cause will also stir your heart to help fund the worthy projects we support in Nkar.

Updates

October 2016

A little baby boy was born in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in October, 2016. His mother is so thankful they now have a hospital. Her only other option would have been to walk 10 miles, while in labor, to the only other local hospital to deliver the baby safely. As the hospital stands today it can only accept outpatients, as it is not equipped with beds, or bathrooms for patients. The Nkar community looks forward to building an inpatient facility that will enable them to care for the members of their community thoroughly.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was named after the apparition of Mary the Mother of Jesus in Lourdes, France. Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to St. Bernadette, and told her to dig at the base of an alcove and there she would find healing waters. Lourdes, France is now a pilgrimage site, bringing millions of people each year seeking the healing waters.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital’s namesake reminds us of the mercy of Jesus and his miracle in curing us in our ailments. It’s no wonder the Nkar hospital chose such a name! Already the hospital is a beacon of hope and healing. A shipment to Nkar in July 2016 stocked the hospital with exam tables and equipment. The generosity of the Catholic World Mission family enabled them to open their doors to their first baby!

See photos of the grand opening blessing and the baby boy here:

How Can You Help

Until this year, the people of Nkar only had a small clinic in their village for medical treatment. Medicine is offered there, but for many, their injuries take them 10 miles away to the local hospital for further treatment. Bishop George of Kumbo shared that this hospital is vital because it will one day have a ward for children, and a labor and delivery unit! The goal is to have multiple wards, including one for men, women, and surgery, to serve the Nkar community and the surrounding areas.

Your support and generosity make it possible to continue the construction of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Nkar.

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