Our Mission to Build a Better Cameroon for Local Communities

Our Mission to Build a Better Cameroon for Local Communities

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.

Empower Village Residents to have Better Life

Empower Village Residents to have Better Life

Brighten the Futures of an Entire Community

We are called to put our gratitude for Christ’s love into action by serving our neighbors, whether they’re half a mile down the road or halfway around the world.

Our deep thanks for all God has given us compels us to open ourselves to see and hear those who live in spiritual and material poverty. When we do, we can’t help but want to shine the light of Christ into the darkness.

The construction of solar panels that will allow the hospital to run lifesaving equipment … illuminate the school so children can learn … pump fresh water up a steep hill to the village … and power the sound system at St. Mary’s Parish Church so the Gospel message can be heard loud and clear.

Caring friends like you helped build a new primary school in Nkar. Now, the children need the gift of light so they can focus on their studies and enjoy lives of dignity and security.

Living in darkness is frightening for anyone. During this time of year when you give thanks for the goodness in your own life, remember the words of Isaiah.

“A people living in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:12).

Provide a Safe Learning Environment

Provide a Safe Learning Environment

Help us Reconstruct St. Mary’s School!

When Fr. Eugen was young he attended a small school in Nkar, Cameroon called St. Mary’s Primary School. Built in the 1960s, St. Mary’s serves 250 children-but the building is old and dilapidated. 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 into the building. Fr. Eugen, once a child in the village, is now a 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 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 villagers have already given Fr. Eugen land for the school and are elated to see the start of the building process! This is where we need you to join in on our mission. With your gift– which will be doubled – the reconstruction of St. Mary’s will be possible!

When completed, the school will accommodate 24 rooms, 18 of which will be dedicated to classrooms, and the rest for administrative and other logistics of the school. Capacity will increase from 250 students to more than 500! Your gift will double to help construct an elementary school classroom (grades 1-6) where kids will receive a quality Catholic education!

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 them 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 needs and reason for rebuilding St. Mary School

Working on the Roof Structure

May 2023

Building the Second Floor of the School

April 2023

The Dream of a Greate School Building Come True

November 2022

Progress Continues

July – October 2022

Many hands make light work and there is much work to be done as progress continues on St. Mary’s school in Nkar. Essential materials were used to construct the pillars and erect the basement walls that will one day welcome Kindergarteners. The children are so excited to see the progress and wonder and wait in anticipation for someday soon when their classrooms are ready to be explored!
as progress continues on St. Mary’s school in Nkar
The children wait in anticipation for some day soon when the classrooms are ready

A New Outdoor Sports Arena

December 2021 – July 2022

A new outdoor sports arena for Nkar, Cameroon is finally on its way! Unfortunately, construction was delayed for six years due to the country’s instability. Now that it is safe to proceed, the surrounding community joyfully awaits their sports field which will be a beacon of hope and the center of the village life. So far, the land has been cleared and the foundation is set. Construction continues with building walls and the grandstand. Once the sports arena is completed, construction will begin on the brand new school!

Fr. Eugen’s dream of creating a safe and secure future for his students is about to become a reality. The children are thrilled with the idea of attending the new school, flourishing educationally, and learning in a safe environment. Nkar may be far away, but you can still share in their excitement by watching the Cameroon St. Mary’s School video.

The fulfillment of this dream would not have been possible without the help and kindness of generous donors like Mike Drapeau and you.

After a six-year delay construction has begun in St. Mary's school, Cameroon
After a six-year delay construction has begun in St. Mary's school, Cameroon
After a six-year delay construction has begun in St. Mary's school, Cameroon

We Had to Stop the Work for Security Reasons

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.

The Situation is Currently Distressing

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

St. Mary’s School is Undergoing Some Major Renovations

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!

Give them Clear Water

Give them Clear Water

For the First Time Ever the People have Clean Water!

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.

“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

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

September 2016

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.

Building a Hospital

Building a Hospital

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.

A Baby Boy was Born in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

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!

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