Alleviate suffering. Illuminate the mind. Ignite the Spirit.
Date: 
May 7, 2018
Pillar: 

An Open Letter from Stephanie Lange, Catholic World Mission's Operations Manager

St. Mary's School in Nkar, Cameroon, is the village's only primary school, and it's fallen into extreme disrepair. Read on to learn how you can take advantage of a rare gift matching opportunity and do twice the good!

St. Mary's School girls' classWhen I visited Nkar, Cameroon, two years ago, what impressed me most about this tiny town (the population is 10,000) was the people.

Their generosity, humility, and connection with each other—their true sense of community—touched my heart. The residents of Nkar believe in each other. They help each other. While the phrase “it takes a village” isn’t really something Cameroonians say, it is definitely the way our friends in Nkar live.

Residents work long hours at great personal cost to rebuild town’s only school

Corn is one of Nkar’s biggest sources of income. Once it’s ripe, there’s a very narrow window of time to harvest the crop. Wait even one day too long and the profitability of the harvest decreases dramatically.

Yet despite this, villagers from throughout Nkar came to help dig and build the foundation for St. Mary’s Catholic School during the height of harvest season. They even let me help!The villagers let me help clear the ground for the foundation of St. Mary's School!

St. Mary’s was built in the 1950s and has graduated thousands of students since it first opened. It’s truly a lighthouse of hope in Nkar. Everyone there knows how important it is for the children to be able to go to school, even if they’re not parents themselves.

Give now so that the children of Nkar, Cameroon, have a safe place to learn!Safety concerns make students come to school in shifts!

An assembly of students at St. Mary's Upper School in Cameroon

But St. Mary’s—built nearly 70 years ago—is falling apart. Nearly every classroom is in major need of repair: there are holes in ceilings, pieces missing from the concrete floor, desks falling apart, chunks missing from walls in some rooms, wasp infestations in others.

Actually, many classrooms aren’t even being used. Most of them are cordoned off and barricaded shut, filled with rubble, debris, and items beyond repair. Students can’t even come for a full day of school. They must come in shifts—half in the morning and half in the afternoon—because there isn’t enough space in the useable classrooms to teach everyone together.

 

The usable classrooms aren’t in great shape, either. Check out photos of the current classrooms below:

The ceiling throughout the school is in major need of repair More than half of the classrooms are unusable! This little classroom is full of broken chairs.

Fr. Eugen, the town’s priest, recently told me a story about a little boy named Patrick:

Patrick, 4, one of St. Mary's youngest students, is afraid of his crumbling classroom

 

The older children were trying to coax Patrick, 4, into the school, but he didn’t want to go in.

“I don’t want to go to school,” he said.

“Why?” Fr. Eugen asked.

“It’s old and frightens me!” Patrick told him emphatically.

I honestly don’t blame Patrick. When I visited two years ago, I didn’t want to go inside the school either. The extreme disrepair made me nervous—would it collapse while I was inside? I can only imagine how much worse it’s gotten in the last couple years!

Thankfully, there is reason to hope! Because of your generosity when we first told you about this school a couple years ago, the villagers were able to build the foundation for the new school.

 

 

Only the foundation of the new St. Mary's School building has been started because of civil war and lack of funds Another shot of the foundation  Circumstances beyond control have brought construction to a stop, but YOU can help today!

School construction halts - but donors are about to kick it into high gear!

Civil war and a lack of funds brought construction to a temporary stop, but a very generous donor has recently donated a huge matching fund specifically for this project!

That means that literally every dollar you give will be doubled.Your gift is automatically DOUBLED when you give to St. Mary's School in Nkar, Cameroon!

 

Give Now to rebuild St. Mary's School and give the priceless gift of education to the children of Cameroon!Fr. Eugen tells us it will take about $200,000 to finish the new school. But with the foundation already built, the strong community spirit of Nkar, our generous matching gift, and YOU, St. Mary’s rebuild is well on its way to becoming a reality!

Give now to give Patrick and 250 other students a fighting chance at a great education!

It would mean a lot not just to Fr. Eugen and the children and families of Nkar, but to me as well. Having been in Cameroon, and seeing these tough conditions with my own eyes, and witnessing how much our Cameroonian brothers and sisters love so generously in the face of extreme poverty--I can honestly say that this little community truly deserves the very best. 

Stephanie Lange, Catholic World Mission's Operations ManagerPray for Cameroon and please, give today.

Your sister in Christ,

Stephanie Lange
Catholic World Mission

Help build St. Mary's Catholic School in Cameroon today! Give now.

 

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