Humanitarian Projects: News from Cameroon

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Our centers in Cameroon and India continue to grow as we work to raise funds for VIDA, to expand our efforts in Mexico. Here is some inspiring news from our humanitarian project site in Kumbo, Cameroon.

Electrician’s Course: First Graduating Class

The Himalayan Institute Cameroon has completed the first vocational training course in its newly opened Center for Business and Education. Fifteen students successfully passed an examination that tested their theoretical and practical abilities as electricians.

“I didn’t make it easy for them,” says course instructor Steve Odnoha.  The intensive three-week curriculum included basic circuits, three-phase power systems, batteries, motors, transformers, a scale model of a residential electrical setup, and the installation of solar panels.

The course participants ranged from experienced electricians to enthusiasts and students of the local technical high school.  Odnoha hopes that his lectures and hands-on training will make up for gaps in the education system caused by teacher and funding shortages.

“For the five years I’ve been in technical school, they never talked about solar panels and things like batteries,” said Michael, a student who had heard about the course over the radio.

Better training in the renewable energy sector is essential for the health of the planet, as global energy consumption shifts towards Africa and the developing world.

In Northwest Cameroon, home wiring is still mostly ad-hoc.  As more people enter the middle class and plug into the grid, wiring is added piecemeal, and the danger of electrical fires increases.  More qualified electricians are sorely needed in Kumbo, and vocational training courses like this one are a step in the right direction.

One outstanding student was asked to remain as a teacher for the next iteration of the course.  When Odnoha returns to his home in the U.S. later this month, he leaves the course curriculum in good hands.  “My hope is that this course continues so that proper wiring knowledge spreads.  Then Kumbo will become a safer and brighter place to live in,” he says.

Steven Odnoha enjoyed his birthday this year “teaching 15 enthusiastic students on the chemistry of lead acid batteries in the Electrician’s Training Course. We played with lots of acid and made many sparks,” Steve enthusiastically stated.

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