By Christopher Ambe
Disability & Development Cooperation (bezev), a German-based organisation has resolved to send two more volunteers to Buea School for the Deaf (BSD) next year to assist efforts by the school in the education of Cameroonian deaf children.
Stephanie Fritz, Project Manager Volunteers Programme of BEZEV, made the disclosure, last April 29, shortly after a round-table discussion on the topic “Inclusive Volunteering’ that took place at BSD.
Fon Asongtia Valentine, Southwest Regional Delegate for Social Affairs, was among the panelists who brainstormed on the theme “Inclusive Volunteering”BSD,which is registered under the Ministry of Social Affairs (Reg. No. 0005/A/MINAS/DDHPA/SDRPH/04 July 2007), is a private lay boarding school for deaf children. The school, located in Wokoko, Buea, in the South West Region of Cameroon currently has an enrollment of only 114 pupils and students. It has staff strength of 30.
Stephanie Fritz was in Cameroon to visit organizations that receive volunteers from Germany and there is one female volunteer at BSD whom she came to see ,and also to sample opinion about ‘Inclusive Volunteering in Cameroon.’
“Next September, there will be two volunteers for BSD-one will be a deaf and the other will be hearing; they will be here for 12 months,” she told The RECORDER.
According to her, “Volunteering is spending some time of your life without being paid. That is the official definition. But volunteering itself is also a learning service, meaning where you go after leaving your home far away, you get some new experience. Volunteers learn to be independent and to cope with different cultures/opinions where they go.
“I strongly encourage many people to volunteer because it is a good life experience. Some even say it changed their lives because they took a decision for the professional career of volunteering. Also as a volunteer, you can give and get a lot from society and individuals’”
It should be noted that Mr. N’jok Bibum Aloysius, a Cameroonian deaf, with the full support of his British deaf wife, Margaret Lioyd Bibum, founded the Buea School for the Deaf (BSD) in 2003. Both are university-educated and started BSD with the objective of providing quality education opportunities to deaf children.
They have been appealing to the Cameroon Government, donor organizations, the Municipal councils, general public etc to lend support in any form to the education of deaf children, which is very expensive.
(First published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of May 6,2015)