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Here is your Bread For Life/CADAC Summer 2021 Newsletter, from Ernest Ehabe
Several years ago, during a visit to India, the late Sen. Mark Hatfield posed a question to Mother Teresa: “Mother Teresa, with all due respect, don’t you feel like a failure?” He went on to clarify what he meant: “There’s a sea of poverty outside your doors; you can’t possibly succeed in helping all the people in Calcutta...” Mother Teresa responded: “My dear senator, God did not call me to be successful. He called me to be faithful.”

Sometimes it can be discouraging. That is, when you put in your all and it still doesn’t look like you’ve done anything because of the “sea of poverty outside your doors.” We can’t possibly succeed in helping all the people but we can be faithful in “heeding the heavenly call.” By the grace of God, we are continuing to thrive amidst the present pandemic. We are continuing to stay faithful and focus on what God has called us to do.

While church planting and discipleship will continue to be the fulcrum of BFL, strategically developing ‘sustainable’ ministry bases across our region will be our legacy, if Jesus tarries. Through this regional bases, we envision seeing thousands of young people trained and released as agents of change in their generation. These bases will not just provide much needed services and employment, they will also be a source of revenue for various ministries.

Two areas of focus the next few years are in our unique model special needs school in Douala and our sustainable demonstration farm base in the East of Cameroon. The focus of this newsletter will be on our special needs school in Douala, an area I believe God has called us to be faithful in, despite the insurmountable challenges of pioneering such a ministry. This school is the first of its kind in our region. Like every pioneering effort, it has a lot of challenges. Thankfully, the school is already making an impact and it is fast evolving into a unique model school in Cameroon. It is a reference point for inclusive education in the region.
On the left, one of our teachers welcoming one of our special students to school. On the right, Our new School Manager ( Mr Casper Etame) with some of our school staff.
Would you prayerfully consider how God may have you join us in making the school sustainable and impactful?

Ernest Ehabe
 Our children inspire a sense of urgency in us. How do I know? Our lives completely changed seven years ago when our son was diagnosed with autism.

In Cameron, and most African countries, people with disabilities are usually considered a ‘bad omen’; a ‘curse from God’. They are given no opportunity in a society where the concept of ‘imago dei’ (created in the image of God) is fluid or absent and where the average person is just trying to survive. Also, because children are often the ‘retirement plan’ for their parents, those who may never be able to give back do not have value. Sadly, even in the church!

God is using our seeming ‘predicament’ to address the issue of  these special needs children and their future. Our school has become a haven for parents with special needs children, but, unfortunately, we have to turn many children and families away each year because we have maxed out our buildings. We are at a crossroad.

Douala, where the school is based, is the largest city in Cameroon, with almost 1/5 of the countries population residing in it. Land is scarce and the price is prohibitive, but this is our mission field, and going outside Douala will mean alienating those we are reaching because of transportation and other logistical issues.
The new building we will be moving into. Needs a lot of renovation. We plan to build an additional building with ten bigger classrooms that can accommodate 15 to 25 students in each class.
The school has operated in the red since its inception. We now have over 90 students with a staff of 30 (staff/student ratio is high because of special needs children). We operate in two small buildings which were not designed to be a school. We have maxed both buildings.

We have operated with a deficit of more than $40,000 each year. Tuition from paying families does not cover our staff salaries. Rents for the two small buildings is about $15,000 a year (not including the guest house for volunteers). This is insanity! Our team agrees that we most do something and do it now.
Our largest room is a converted garage.
We project that with 250 students paying $500 a year, we can operate a school of 1,000. Tuition from 250 paying students will sustain everything, but there is a catch. We have been unable to find a building that can house this number at once. The best option we feel is to purchase a small piece of land to build on, however, it is difficult to find one, and when available, prices are prohibitive. This has been our dilemma for five years as we continue to operate in the red.

Another option is to rent a bigger building with space for us to build on. We have taken a giant step of adding an additional building at a whooping yearly rent of $21,513. It requires a lot of renovation and building additional classrooms to accommodate 300 or more students.

If we can meet our goals for the school this year we will be positioned to attract more paying students during the next 2022/2023 academic year and in the coming years. As we move forward, we hope to acquire land to build a school that is accessible and affordable for all.

Kindly email me if this is an area that you feel you can assist us in. We will be glad to share details.
On July 8th Dr. Robin E Bowen (President of Arkansas Tech University, ATU) and I, signed an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) that will be of mutual benefit to ATU and our unique school (Ray of Hope Academy, ROHA.).

The MOU signing is the culmination of six years of relationship and collaboration between our special needs school in Douala and ATU. About two years ago, through a grant, the school sent Dr. John O’Connor of the College of Education on an exploratory trip to our school. The plan was for about ten faculty members from various colleges at ATU to visit last year and for ATU students to start visiting this year.

On returning, Dr. O’Connor started working on a grant for one million dollars from the Spencer Foundation to enable us buy land and build a model school. Unfortunately, the grant didn’t go through. Together, we are working on approaching other foundations for a grant to buy land and build a modern school in Cameroon so we can focus on what we have dubbed:  “Cameroon Educational Impact Project.”

BFL is thrilled to layer this dynamic partnership on top of over two decades of serving and connecting resources with needs across West-Central Africa.

We are combining forces to develop a genuine partnership to improve educational and physical activity behaviors in the Ray of Hope Academy students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, students with other special learning needs, and students without disabilities.
Prof John O’Connor training our school staff
Signing the Memorandum  to allow ATU to lead the Cameroon Educational Impact Project. Dr. Robin E. Bowen, President of Arkansas Tech University, Dr. Barbara Johnson, Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Linda Bean, Dean, College of Education, Dr. Tim Carter, Associate Dean, College of Education
We envision a partnership that will allow ATU to take responsibility to lead the Cameroon Education Impact Project‘s efforts to:
  • Provide increased educational opportunities for students at Ray of Hope Academy.
  • Develop increased capacity of teachers and staff to fulfil their service delivery roles.
  • Effectively prepare ATU program candidates across multiple fields of preparation via international clinical experiences.
  • Pursue the funding and development of a modern resource and technologically equipped school facility that extends the impact of the Ray of Hope Academy within the local community and the region.

Will you join us in praying for:

  1. Funds to renovate the building we have recently signed a contract on?
  2. Provision to pay all the rents this year
  3. The acquisition of land and development of our own infrastructure to accommodate the expansion of the school
  4. Funding for staff and the recruitment of the following special education specialists:
  • Speech therapists, occupational therapist, and psychologists.
  • The equipment and school utilities: Computer projectors, sensory toys, and a school van.
Your prayers for this projects and the entire work of BFL is appreciated.
Elizabeth Eliot correctly note: “Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between his will and its accomplishment on earth.” Amazing things happen, when we pray, and we are given the privilege of being channels of the Holy Spirit’s through prayer. We believe that prayer makes a powerful difference in our ministry! We are so thankful for friends, like you, who pray for us. If you are not part of our prayer network, would you consider putting us on your prayer list?
Monthly Partners are those who commit to make monthly gifts to BFL to cover the operational needs of BFL. Recurring monthly gifts provides sustainable income, helping our team plan and implement their work with confidence and certainty. We now have 40 individuals and 11 churches. This still puts us at less than half of what we need to support a staff of over 60 in Cameroon. We are however thankful that God continues to use one time gifts and love offerings during my yearly visits to make the difference.
With our growth, it has become necessary to start looking for other funding sources. We are looking for people who are good at grant writing and those who can help us identify grants or foundations who have interest in what we are doing.

Invite friends to your home for dinner or desert to learn about our work. Help start a fundraiser (car wash etc). You can also use your social media platforms. It could be dedicating your birthday to BFL, or doing a crowdfunding, etc.
It is our desire to spread our vision to others and to the Business Community. A word of introduction or endorsement from you will go a long way in opening doors in churches or with community and business leaders in your area, or across the country.
We organize several ‘mission and vision’ trips every year to assist individuals and groups experience other cultures and see first-hand what we do, as well as participate in our work. We invite you join us on a short-term mission trip.
Invest in any of our sustainable ministry bases. A gift towards the farm will keep reproducing itself. At the present we are looking at developing a fish pond, build animal houses, buy more goats and cattle, etc. These gifts will multiple themselves over time and move us to a place of sustainability. This has been the case with the pineapples. We now have almost 200,000 on the ground. This will triple every year and bless villages as we help them with seeds to start similar ventures.

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