Cégep St-Jérôme students think big!

Cégep St-Jérôme students think big!

This year, Cégep St-Jérôme’s Solidarity Project in Cameroon is celebrating its 5th anniversary! To present the results of the 2013 edition, the group hosted an evening on March 28, 2013 to mark their return. The cocktail, buffet, kiosks, conference and thanks made for a very successful evening.

The project started in 2009, in Cameroon’s Fonakeukeu village. In the beginning, students wanted to set up a nursery to help alleviate the problem of flora destruction, and encourage the village’s economic development. Through the years, the project has become solidly implemented in the community. Thanks to young Cameroonian who are working every day to maintain the nursery, that project is now independent.

With this in mind, the students decided to innovate. A grant from the LÉGER FOUNDATION enabled them to fund the building of 10 slow-combustion ovens for Cameroon households. This initiative was made possible thanks to a student’s ingenuity who designed the plans of various oven models so that, on site, it would be possible to select the one that would best suit the needs of the families.

The repercussions of such a project are impressive! The model selected, an L-shaped oven, offer several benefits. Because that model generates less smoke than the traditional 3-stone oven, the health of families was greatly improved. In addition, the new oven makes it possible to reduce wood use by 50 to 70%, making it economical, quick and environment-friendly. Finally, the oven improves the families’ quality of life by providing a better work surface and making it easier to cook. The ovens that were built up to now were offered free to influential families in the village to encourage the project’s sustainability. The Cégep St-Jérome group also plans to implement a micro-credit structure to help with financing for families who, otherwise, would not be able to afford a new oven. Any profits generated from the low interest rate will be reinvested in the community through another project.
Two students of the same group decided to explore a completely different area of intervention, that of health. Their training in nursing allowed them to raise the awareness of the community, in collaboration with the Panakeukeu Health Center nurse. Their initiative focused mainly on malaria, HIV-AIDS, healthy nutrition habits and the benefits of physical activity.

The Solidarity Project in Cameroon will go on, but will now take place every two years, allowing the group to better prepare and giving them more time to raise funds. The 2015 cohort is looking to counter one of the Fonakeukeu village’s great problems: water supply. From now till their departure, the students will need to raise close to $35,000 in additional funds.

This year, the group was able to raise nearly $60,000 to carry out their projects, thanks to the support of the LÉGER FOUNDATION, but also through a slew of fundraising activities. Congratulations to all these committed students!

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