There are times when I am startled by God’s plans—delightfully startled. As the Good Shepherd SLF Board has prayed and worked tirelessly to reopen Good Shepherd Academy in Bafut, Cameroon, current ongoing violence continues to stand in our way. Slowly, carefully and with God’s help, an alternative plan has taken shape and blossomed.
With vision and fierce determination, Sister Jane Mankaa has established Good Shepherd Preparatory School at Good Shepherd Home in Bamenda. Carefully contained and secure within the orphanage compound, twenty-six secondary school students, the majority of whom are Sister Jane’s children, are being prepared to attend Good Shepherd Academy when it reopens. This feeder school into the Academy will strengthen our student body as it supports the orphans we all hold dear.
All GSA subjects are being taught, along with animal husbandry, through a vibrant piggery made possible by a generous donation. The resulting piglets will be sold to supplement the GSA, Bafut operating budget when our campus reopens. While space is limited, spirits are high as new avenues of learning are explored.
At the same time:
- We have taken the steps necessary to protect our Bafut campus with 24-hour security.
- We have maintained open and constant communication with American Ambassador Peter Barlerin to assure him of our continued commitment to our Cameroonian partners. We have also filed testimony in support of the Cameroonian people with the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa.
- We have utilized available technology to set up an open stream of communication with each of the Cameroonian Board members. By using “What’s App,” we can conduct full intra-board discussions on a range of issues related to our anticipated school reopening.
- We continue to support our Cameroonian Board members with advice on an operating structure including new draft bylaws and Board member obligations. We have also assisted in the creation of improved materials for the successful recruitment of new students.
- We continue to strengthen ties to our Cameroonian based NGO partners, Moka Origins and Greenhouse Ventures. These relationships will add important components to our school curriculum in entrepreneurship, specialized farming and greenhouse farming.
- Most importantly, we continue to actively fundraise for anticipated scholarship needs. While we remain fully funded with two years of scholarship commitment, we know that going forward many more students will need full or partial scholarship aid due to the economic ravages of the ongoing violence and conflict.
In God’s time, Good Shepherd Academy will reopen on sound financial and operational footing with fully-prepared students. In the meantime, we continue to give thanks for each one of you and for your generosity that makes all of this possible.