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Jesuit Priest Fundraises for Education of Hundreds of Displaced Children in Cameroon

Copies of the book titled "Seeds of Hope" by Fr. Ludovic Lado and Martin Wato. Credit: Fr. Ludovic Lado

A member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) ministering in Chad has launched a fundraiser to support the education of at least 300 children displaced by the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West (NOSO) regions of Cameroon.

In a Friday, August 6 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Ludovic Lado said he hopes to raise the funds through the sale of his book, “Seeds of Hope”, which entails stories from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Central African country.

“Before schools reopen, we hope to raise enough money to send back to school at least 300 children. To achieve this objective, we need to sell as many books as possible,” Fr. Lado told ACI Africa. 

The Cameroonian Priest continued, “Most of the IDPs in Cameroon today are among the poorest of the poor. They have lost almost everything. As a Christian and as a priest, I cannot just go on saying Holy Mass when these brothers and sisters do not know how their children will return to school when it reopens soon.”  

He added that the fundraiser launched on Thursday, August 5 through the Back to School Initiative “is all about the right to education of the internally displaced children.”

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During the August 5 launch at the Jesuit Retreat Centre in Douala, Fr. Lado said, “Education has been at the heart of the conflict, particularly in the English-speaking areas, with nearly 600,000 children dropping out of school and 90% of schools closing, with only 6% of children attending. Many children have not set foot in a classroom for nearly four years.”

The Jesuit Priest who serves at the Centre for Studies and Training for Development (CEFOD) in Chad added, “Children who turned 3 in 2016 missed out on their first year of schooling.”

In the August 6 interview, Fr. Lado called on people of good will to support the initiative saying, “Children did not cause this conflict and it is unfair that they are deprived of quality education.”

“We need to act together to ease their burden. A child who goes back to school has a good reason to hope. Let's all sow seeds of hope through education,” he said, adding, “Our message is that only compassion and solidarity will heal the wounds of the victims of the current crisis.”

Crisis erupted in the NOSO regions of Cameroon in 2016 after a protest by teachers and lawyers turned violent.

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Following the protests, an armed movement of separatists claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged after the government launched a crackdown on the demonstrators.   

Since then, the violent conflict has led to the displacement of over 679,000 people.

More than 600,000 children have not been able to go to school in the two regions, and at least 3,000 lives have been lost during the five-year unrest.