Fw: PCV from Santa Rosa asking for help!
- A PCV request for financial assistance on a time sensitive HIV education project in Cameroon.
Considering supporting NorCal with an active paid membership. Visit either NPCA at https://secure.peacecorpsconnect.org/membership/application or NorCalPCA at http://www.norcalpca.org/.
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Emilie Greenhalgh <emilie.greenhalgh@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 2:13:13 PM
Subject: PCV from Santa Rosa asking for help!
I am a second-year Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. I went to high school in Santa Rosa, CA and lived in Cloverdale for several years. My mother grew up in Cloverdale, and my father in Sebastopol. My service in Cameroon is almost finished and before I leave, I
am asking for your help to fund a project that is very close to my
heart. This project, that was until now only an idea, finally has the
chance to come to fruition. However, it is only possible with your
HIV is a huge, if not taboo subject in Cameroon. 15% of the
population--we’re talking 350,000 people—is HIV positive (the percentage may, in fact, be more or less, considering the lack of reliable statistics in Cameroon). These statistics come from the people who are courageous enough to find out their status and pregnant women who are required to take the test if they choose to go to a hospital for prenatal consulatations.
Over the years, a myriad of NGOs and government-sponsored programs have
promoted mass informational seminars teaching school-aged children the
importance of abstinence and fidelity in order to prevent the disease.
Despite substantial efforts and funds pored into these projects, the
Cameroonian people have noticed little change in the behavior of the
youth. In fact, the number of HIV positive Cameroonians grows each
Mass informational sessions at schools are not a tool for inciting
actual behavior change. How can these informational seminars be
effective when such a large percentage of Cameroonian youth cannot
afford to stay in school? To make ends meet, many of these
disenfranchised youth become moto taxi drivers. These men, generally
between the ages of 14 and 30, usually have not finished high school
and work long hours for little pay. They have a unique culture that
involves outrageous clothing, high alcohol consumption, and of course,
a large interest in any fwoman that passes their way. Once you get to
know these men, of course, you learn that there is more to them than
crazy hats and catcalls.
My moto driver gets up at 5am to make sure his younger brother gets
to school. He had to drop out of school himself so his siblings could
continue—his family didn't have enough money to pay for everyone's
school fees. After that, he works all morning, taking a break at
midday to tend to his family's pigs. He then continues to work until 7
or 8pm. The moto he drives does not belong to him, so he must pay the
owner 2,000 CFA a day (approximately $4), and then can keep the rest of
whatever he makes. Since each ride is usually 100 CFA (25 cents), what
he keeps is barely enough to feed himself. And after all that work,
most people think he’s a high school drop out that’s riding around all
day chasing after girls.
These poor, uneducated men with their raucous culture inspired us
to launch a project aimed to empower them as development agents
promoting HIV prevention. Because they are always pursuing women and
wildly gossiping while they wait for their next customers, we believe
that they would be the perfect candidates to disseminate HIV prevention
techniques amongst themselves and other youth in the villages.
11 villages in the West Region will participate in this project.
Your donations will allow two moto drivers per village to attend a
two-day seminar on HIV prevention and transmission. The training will
prepare the participants to become peer educators. During the seminar,
we will also offer free HIV testing, something most Cameroonians are
too scared to do on their own. After the seminar is complete, the
volunteers will work closely with the moto drivers from each village to
help them schedule and facilitate informational seminars in their own
communities with their own peers. By doing this, we not only hope to
diminish the spread of HIV in the West Region, but also empower the
moto drivers as development agents.
I noticed that your association has funded projects in the past. As a PCV from Norcal, it would mean so much to me to receive any support from your association. For an eay way to donate, go to www.peacecorps.gov and click on donate/donors. Look under Cameroon and our project is
listed under C. Cook, Beep Your Horn for HIV Prevention. Or just https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=694-134.
Your contributions are tax deductible. As previously mentioned, we
hoped to start this project as soon as possible, but seriously need you
help in raising the funds to make it happen! This is crunch time. We
need to raise $5,700 in two weeks.
If there is a more in-depth process that I need to pursue to obtain funding from the association, please let me know, so I can do it as soon as possible.
I hope you can help even if it is just a few dollars. Everything
counts! And don’t forget—the sooner the better! If you have any
questions, please feel free to email me. Also, if you could please
pass this information on to any family or friends that might be able to
help, it would be very much appreciated.
Thank you for your support!
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