After visiting the Kumbo Public Library in Cameroon last November with her family during the 2010 Eco-Service Excursion, 14-year old Claudia Bacon returned home inspired to also make a difference.
Reflecting on her experiences in Cameroon, she wrote, “I was first inspired by the library because it was one of the only public libraries in Cameroon and the kids were so thrilled to have books to read, games to play, and textbooks to use since they could not afford them. This inspired me to do as much as I can to help these people. Africa was a life changing experience that I learned so much from in two weeks… Africa will remain in my heart forever and I can’t wait to go back.”
Turning inspiration into action, on Martin Luther King Day Claudia gave a speech to approximately 1,000 of her schoolmates about the harsh realities facing rural communities and the need for quality educational materials. After hearing this, the students and their families at McCall Middle School in Winchester, MA were ready to help change the lives of students over 5,500 miles away. Together, the community gathered 2,430 books!
Claudia and some friends sorted and boxed the books, and then Claudia and her mom Nicole rented a cargo van and delivered them to Honesdale, PA.
A special thanks to the Bacons, the Gukenbergers, and all of the students and faculty at Winchester Middle School!
Interested in organizing a book drive or fundraiser in your community? Be a part of the Himalayan Institute’s ‘One Book One Dollar’ campaign! For every book that we collect to send to Cameroon, we need $1 to cover shipping charges. Contact our Humanitarian Projects team at 570-647-1527 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how you can support students in underprivileged areas gain access to quality educational resources.
Born and raised in the interior of North India, Arun Kumar Mishra went to one of the humblest schools in the region, which did not even have the most basic amenities. Through his hard work he was able to attend a traditional Sanskrit school in Allahabad. However, this school, like so many traditional Sanskrit schools in North India, lacked a qualified teacher. When Mishra was told about the HI Scholarship Program by a past recipient, he immediately brought his request to the HI staff in Allahabad.
Upon realizing the potentials of this bright young student, the Himalayan Institute offered a full scholarship for master’s level education in Varanasi, the center of traditional learning.
With the help of the HI India Scholarship Program, Arun Kumar Mishra will now be able to pursue an advanced degree in Sanskrit studies in Varanasi.
The HI India Scholarship Program provides educational support to rural students who demonstrate the capacity for being agents of local change, in order that they may pursue primary and advanced education.
School is not free in Kumbo, Cameroon. If parents want to send their children to elementary school and high school they have to pay each year for tuition and books, even in government-run schools. On average, the total cost for one year of school is roughly $250. In a country where the average annual income is only $1050 (Worldbank), it can be very challenging to put an entire family through school.
The Himalayan Institute Cameroon has been working hard to support families in Kumbo by providing scholarship assistance. To date, the HIC has assisted:
- 26 students in 2008
- 42 students in 2009
- Our Goal: 100 students in 2010.
The financial assistance goes towards, books, materials, uniforms and tuition. To further help reduce the cost of education, the HIC has dedicated a section of its Kumbo Public Library to house every text book needed in Kumbo schools. This collection includes over 1000 books and is available to the student to study from at no cost.
Students at the HIC’s Back to School party.
A sudden rain moves the party inside where students receive school supplies and continue the festivities.
To start the school year off on the right foot, the HIC hosts an annual Back to School party each September, which allows children to gather at the community center and enjoy food, games and festivities. This year the 98 students that came to the party each received notebooks, pens, pencils and a ruler.
Aisha in Class 6 writes to her pen pal in the US.
It costs $250 to send one child to school in Kumbo. Help us to reach our goal of sending 100 children to school in 2010!