It is late at night, on Cameroon’s dimly lit streets, but young children are hard at work. Some wander the streets, trying to sell bottles of soda or newspapers to passers-by. Others work even longer hours, sold many times a night as prostitutes. It is dangerous work but they are desperate to earn enough money to survive another day.
Crossroads shipped to one Cameroon NGO that is battling this problem. They provide both a source of education for children and a voice for their rights. They believe children should not need to sell either things, or, most certainly, themselves, in order to survive. “They should be in school!” a representative said in a recent visit to Hong Kong. “One of the principle factors holding young people back is that they don’t get a good education.”
He described parts of the country where entire generations of children go through school without having access to a single schoolbook. “Books cost money,” he said, “and these communities are poor.” When, therefore, Crossroads sent them a large consignment of books for distribution in schools and libraries in rural areas, the response seemed overwhelming. “Whole villages came out at our arrival!” our consignee said, exuberantly. “It was a historic moment for them.”
These books brought an injection of hope into rural Cameroon. There is, of course, a long way to go, but our hope is to see many more such consignments to help education in the country until it is sufficient for the country’s children. The day needs to come, and may it be soon, when they will be rescued from the horrific ‘work’ options they currently face: choices no child should ever have to make.