There are between 1 million and 4 million child labourers in Cameroon aged between 5-14. Some of them work on plantations and farms, some sell small items on the streets and in markets, some are employed by their own families, who need the free labour simply to survive, and some work as prostitutes.
In 2011, Crossroads shipped to an organisation that wants to see Cameroon’s rural children freed from the things that are trapping them in poverty: the early marriage of girl children, child labour, witchcraft, child abuse and HIV/AIDS. Their work is touching the lives of 1,500 orphans and vulnerable children with schools and fun, educational programs that are returning to them back the childhood and educational opportunities that poverty tried to steal.
The goods from Crossroads’ container, all donated by individuals and organisations in Hong Kong, have allowed this organisation to update their existing equipment, and expand into entirely new programmes that would not have been possible without these resources! Broken school desks and chairs were replaced with sturdy, updated school furniture from Crossroads. Other chairs from Crossroads are being used by children in their holiday programs for educational film screenings and other activities. Uniforms donated by a Hong Kong school were worn by the children in a recent holiday program, giving them a sense of pride and delight in their smart, presentable appearance. Clothes distributed to poverty-stricken children in rural areas were gratefully received. “Children living in the villages have had their lives transformed by new clothes,” a staff member told us.
Computers are almost universally unaffordable in the villages of Cameroon . Most rural schools still have no computer access for children at all, leaving these students far behind their peers in cities or more developed nations. Our consignee had an exciting goal: to place a computer in every one of their classrooms, and set up a computer training centre. Thanks, in part, to the computers sent from Crossroads, they now have a fully functioning computer training centre and a computer in each classroom for the students to use, as well as a cyber café where other members of the community can come to use computers and the internet!
The donation even inspired the construction of a brand new building, where the books and stationery from Crossroads are going to fill the school’s first proper library. The basketballs, hoops and equipment from Crossroads, have likewise created a brand new space where students have a fully-equipped basketball facility for sports programs.
We are privileged to be able to support the work of those who struggle to serve their communities with so few resources.