Ouazzang, North Cameroon


Enge formed a precedent – and it worked!

In Zurich-Enge, a whole urban quarter aligns itself with a big project. In Cameroon people seize this chance and can finally offer their children good prospects based on a solid education.


Maybe it was simply a crazy idea – or at least an unusual course of action for an urban quarter. The residents, the clubs and associations, the local firms and the church authorities all acted together and campaigned for a joint IPA project, their local relief organisation. During the course of a whole year there were activities, information meetings and collections in order to help a school in the north of Cameroon.

Meanwhile 1,300 children were supposed to go to school in Ouazzang. But there were only two classrooms, both of them in need of repair. The other classes were taught in miserable straw huts except during the rainy season. Only 600 children attended school, and under such circumstances they hardly learnt anything. They sat on the ground, none of them had a textbook, and only two out of seven teachers had proper training. However when IPA representatives visited the village they encountered motivated parents, committed authorities and children who were obviously eager to learn. They are all Mofou, Christian people with an excellent reputation. Honest, but terribly poor, forgotten by the government and exploited by others.

Volunteer work instead of pity


Perhaps it was the hardships in Ouazzang, perhaps the challenge in the local quarter. What is certain is that in Zurich-Enge a veritable movement started. Led by the "Quarter Association" and the churches, new ideas were constantly changed into activities, among them a series of concerts, stalls at the Christmas market, a bazaar, a big party at Enge high school and many others. Perhaps the most moving example was Noe, a nine-year-old boy. He made a wooden money box and asked people in the streets for a donation. In the end more money was collected than had been expected which, of course, was no problem for IPA because the needs of the Mofou people were immense.

Whilst Noe was an inspiration for people in Zurich-Enge, Youda, a 35-year-old father, was his counterpart. Youda has only one leg. Nevertheless he hauled stones to the building site like all the others. "I also want to be part of the historical event in the village", he said to the IPA partner. "When it comes to development, I have no handicap." Like in Zurich-Enge there was a movement in Ouazzang. Far more than 9,000 hours of volunteer work were done. Apart from the new building with two classrooms for which the villagers carried the building materials to the site they built another one made of clay to improve the conditions for an additional class. Thanks to the financial help from Zurich three classrooms could finally be built and equipped. The old school was renovated, new teaching materials and textbooks were bought and the teachers completed three training courses. During the academic year 2016/17, 930 children go to school in Ouazzang. The motto "Enge forms a precedent" has indeed been successful in Cameroon.

An extensive project for the school