Maroua is the provincial capital of the Extreme North in Cameroon. Life pulsates in this metropolis of over 200,000 inhabitants. The market is impressively large and well-known throughout the country. Many people, also from neighboring countries, come to Maroua to take advantage of the economic opportunities to improve their own lives or to study at the university.
Saare Tabitha: Education for girls and women in Maroua
The region has always been a multi-religious space where ¾ Muslims and ¼ Christians actually live together peacefully. However, since 2013, this peace has been under massive threat: due to the terror of the radical Boko Haram sect from Nigeria, the people in the western border area in particular are regular victims of violence, attacks and assaults. Even in the otherwise safe Maroua, there have been regular attacks and many victims. In the middle of this mixture of vibrant provincial capital and center of major challenges, the Saare Tabitha girls' school has been operating for two decades now. In her last report, Cathérine Kolyang, the director, told us the story of a special woman:
Ahiakai grew up half-orphaned and paraplegic. In 2019, she was able to successfully complete her education at the girls' school as a graduate. But the road ahead was filled with major obstacles for the young woman. She first failed in the normal school system in Maroua and then came to the girls' school for an education. She hardly dared to do anything and had many fears because of her disability. She believed that this was due to a spell. But the Saare Tabitha team worked a lot on Ahiakai's self-worth.
A self-determined new life
"I am also called 'Madame' now. I am overjoyed and living my dream in this training center. I am respected and can do my best every day," Ahiakai says joyfully as she revisits the girls' school. It is not only professionally that life has changed for the woman: When her poor hut was destroyed during the rainy season, she was able to have a new small shelter built herself. Today, Ahiakai is married and they have a wonderful boy.
More than an education: real change
For Cathérine, this impressive story is the core of her many years of training work in Maroua: real development and change is possible when we succeed in strengthening the self-esteem of the young women. Then, even after the training, an independent life can succeed and the women make a real difference in their home towns and change their families and ultimately the entire environment.
According to a report by Cathérine Kolyang.