Meidougou High School Build

My name is Emily Hardy and I am a (very) recently returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I had the honor of serving in a village called Meidougou, located in the Adamawa region of Cameroon, Central West Africa.

During my two years in Meidougou I worked primarily as an English teacher. What struck me most was the lack of resources teachers and students are forced to deal with in regards to education. For example, our school currently includes grades 6-11, yet we only have 5 classrooms. Once students complete 11th grade, they must either abandon their studies or commute 17km each direction to the High School in a neighboring town, an expensive option out of reach for most. Our goal is to transition our school into a fully functioning High School, and in order to do this we need to build some additional classroom space. Here's where you can help! 

For the past year, I have been working on a grant through the Peace Corps Partnership program. The grant would have allowed me to raise 75 percent of the funds from outside donors while the community in Meidougou would be responsible for the remaining 25 percent. Unfortunately, a day after my grant was approved, my post mate and I received word that we were being evacuated from our village due to increased instability and violence along the border with the Central African Republic. I had extended my service to see this high school expansion completed and being evacuated meant that I could no longer fund the project through Peace Corps. BUT, the important thing is that the project can still be funded. 

During my two years of service, I had the privilege of working with the Government High School of Meidougou Director and Principal Emmanuel Djabbo. Mr. Djabbo has been an inspiration to me. He often uses his own money to buy supplies for the school. He is an honest, hard-working Cameroonian who is proud to help educate future leaders of his country. He and I worked together to apply for the grant. This included getting estimates for labor and supplies, constructing a timeline, and getting the community excited about the project.

One of the goals of Peace Corps is to provide assistance to countries that express an interest in having American volunteers. Our job is to educate people in hopes that eventually, there will be no need for Peace Corps in that country. Mr. Djabbo did all of the leg work for this project. I am simply connecting resources to a motivated teacher trying to make his school a better place. 

Our goal is to raise the necessary funds by February. Construction will take at least three months and needs to be completed by the arrival of the rainy season in May. 

Meidougou and its people have given me so much. They truly became my African family. They cooked for me when I was hungry, they made me laugh when I was missing home, and they taught me about their culture. Everyone there always thanks me profusely for "everything I have done for Meidougou", but truly, I could never give as much as I have received. Meidougou is a special place with amazing people. The kids there deserve to be able to continue their education in their village. I promised Mr. Djabbo, my fellow teachers, and the students that I would do all I could to make the high school build become a reality. 

I would like to thank you in advance for following this story and for caring about people you have never met in a village you have never seen. It doesn't matter if you give $1 or $100 or simply good vibes. I appreciate it all and I know our village does as well. Thank you to those who have already donated. I am so fortunate to have family and friends that believe in this work and support me unconditionally. All the best, and Happy Holidays! Let's get this thing built! 

Cheers,

Emily Hardy

 PS – I want to send a special thank you to my post mate Caitlin Barker. She arrived in Meidougou about a year into my service and inspired me with her enthusiasm, energy and spirit. She has been invaluable to this project, always there to offer advice, support and encouragement. She has kept me sane and laughing through all the trials of living in a developing country. She fell in love with Meidougou just as I had and has worked to see this project through. Thanks Caty, I could not ask for a better post mate, friend, and sister. Je t’aime beaucoup!  

 If you would like to read more about Meidougou and our experiences there, you can find my blog at elhincameroon.blogspot.com and Caitlin’s at caitlincameroon.wordpress.com/author/cbarker31.
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Organizer

Emily Hardy 
Organizer
Westbrook, CT
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