In this video by Clement Ngosongfor the #MakeEducationWork campaign, Triumph, a student whose education has been brought to a halt by the crisis, narrates his struggle to acquire an education amidst the crisis.
Since late 2016, the Anglophone areas of Cameroon have been experiencing a sociopolitical crisis that has worsened over time, resulting in violent battles between military forces, the loss of lives and property, internal displacement, and a rising environment of fear and insecurity.
Other elements such as social media misinformation, false alarms, and fear, have contributed to the interruption of school activities in these regions. According to UNICEF, almost 900,000 children in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest areas are affected by the conflict and have difficulty accessing school as of January 2020.
Watch Triumph’s story.
Plain text script below (check against delivery)
I am hopeless and frustrated. What next will I do are the statements that leave the lips of thousands of students who graduate from high school yearly this is due to factors such as language barrier and little or no knowledge on how to gain access to most universities.
A plethora of anglophone students spend sleepless nights figuring out ways on how to gain admission into Cameroon’s top universities. Unfortunately, they almost always end up in disappointment and regret as 80% of these universities follow the French system, which is unknown to them.
Over the last four years, this appalling situation aggravated as the only two Anglo-Saxon universities which are found in the English-speaking regions are currently facing a political crisis, the Anglophone Crisis.
I am Teh Triumph, I’m an Open Dreams scholar, and I’m 20 years old. I grew up in a lovely family of five, I’ve got an elder brother a younger sister, and two parents. So, I actually had a very pleasant moment with my family growing up in primary school until I got into secondary school when my mom had a mental problem which uh made us to grow up with our uncle since uh my father had to take care of her and could not take care of the children. So, he sent us to his elder brother where we spent four years
After living with my uncle for four years, in form five, the strike happened in 2016 and 2017 academic school year that was October and being a very brilliant student who was passionate about learning, my education was really affected as I could not go to school for one full year, but I had to write the GCE still. I did not have anyone in the French-speaking part of my country, so I had to stay there and face life.
Struggling in these moments, I still passed all my papers but not with the grades that I actually wanted, so I had to move now to a much better area though still in the anglophone region where my parents were. There I committed high school stay in strike where they are gunshots passing around, and you still have to go to school because you like to learn.
Growing up in the anglophone crisis has been very difficult as I can remember losing a friend to the strike in 2017 that was at the level where we had to write our GCE O-level. He was this very brilliant guy, and I talked to him one night and only to get up and hear that he is dead.
I remember the other time where my friend lost his books, and they seized his clothes, they got him well beaten and seized his back which he had his school fees inside. So, he lost everything but thank God he wrote the GCE, that was in A-level and he succeeded. And I can remember the other time where I had to sleep in the bush for one night and rain had to beat us that night and I was like an animal.
In 2017 I left my uncle place back to my parents, where I completed high school in 2019 still in the crisis-affected region of my country. It was not easy, but I made it, and I was graduate from high school, but I was looking for ways to get into the university. I was also passionately looking also to study abroad but how?
Until I met Azucha Ursla after high school during the holidays in 2019. She introduced me to Open Dreams, and I got to know that it’s an organization that helps equalize access to educational opportunities for high achieving students, which I found myself in.
My advice for all young people or for youth facing a similar situation or even worse situation than mine is that be resilient, take action don’t stay in your comfort zones but be on the move, fight for your destiny, I believe that if you push on you’re going to get it.
Clement is a young changemaker whose mission is to inspire and empower other young people with the resources and skills required for them to become agents of positive change in their communities. His interest is focused on youth leadership and youth civic engagement through capacity building programs and volunteering opportunities.
As a changemaker, he identifies community problems and seizes the opportunity to build a solution by applying his critical skills of empathy, teamwork, and leadership to take creative action and solve social problems in his community.
Earlier this year, he was named in the top 50 finalists for the prestigious Global Student Prize, an award by the Varkey and Chegg Foundation to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout the world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.
His work with young people has been recognized and has received awards from the European Union, The MasterCard Foundation, The Melton Foundation, Global Changemakers, The Clinton Foundation, and several other international and local organizations.