Planting the Seeds of Knowledge

This past week, the Himalayan Institute Cameroon teamed up with Knowledge For Children to bring books to a rural school. Knowledge For Children (KFC) is a Kumbo-based NGO currently working with 35 rural schools in Bui Division to increase access to reading materials and textbooks. When KFC invited the HIC to collaborate, the HIC eagerly agreed to help and gathered 100 children’s books to be donated.

On February 25th members of the Himalayan Institute Cameroon, together with Knowledge For Children, traveled to the Presbyterian School in the village of Memfu to deliver two carloads of books. The sounds of singing and clapping reached the cars before they had even arrived at PS Memfu; the long driveway leading to the school grounds was lined with smiling students singing, “We are happy to see you again.” A large crowd was assembled in a grandstand area, which included the parents of students, a Presbyterian women’s organization, the Parent Teacher Association, and local rulers and dignitaries.

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The official ceremony opened with a blessing from the school’s pastor, Reverend Tata Henry, who read from the Bible, “Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). The quote was especially appropriate for the event where parents, teachers, and local NGOs had gathered to support the growth of their children.

Reverend Tata Henry and HIC Volunteer Amanda Masters. This year, Reverend Tata Henry will celebrate his “golden jubilee”, his 50th year of service to the community.

Reverend Tata Henry and HIC volunteer Amanda Masters. This year, Reverend Tata Henry will celebrate his “golden jubilee”, his 50th year of service to the community.

Speeches followed from the Head Teacher, PTA President and the coordinators of Knowledge For Children discussing the value of an education that comes from both parents and schoolteachers. All emphasized the role that PS Memfu has played in earning the books being donated that day. In order to qualify for a year of support from Knowledge For Children, schools must contribute a specific, increasing quota of books as well be able to demonstrate that all books from previous years have been preserved and well cared for. This is PS Memfu’s third year with the program and their third year as a Top 5 school among the 35 schools involved, so the pride and seriousness that the community has invested in its children’s education is obvious. There is no doubt that the books contributed by the HIC will be treasured.

PS Memfu students and community members show off their new books

PS Memfu students and community members show off their new books

In his brief address to the crowd, HIC volunteer John Daskovsky pointed out that the books donated by the Himalayan Institute Cameroon are ones that the volunteers themselves grew up with. Such titles as Corduroy, The Lorax, Amelia Bedelia, Berenstein Bears and Richard Scary’s Busytown taught the pleasure of reading, inspired writing skills and creativity and provided a sense of excitement for learning. Now these very titles will do the same for generations of students—and parents—in Memfu. All together, the books donated to the deserving school will reinforce each other: the HIC-donated books are perfect for beginning a day enjoyably and getting students into the spirit of learning, while the school primers contributed by Knowledge For Children will direct that energy toward academic subjects. It takes both kinds of books to inspire knowledge and passion in students.

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The HIC trusts that the seeds planted at PS Memfu will help to grow children eager to learn and prepared to face the challenges of improving their community and their lives.

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