For 20 years, “Reach Out Cameroon” has been addressing women’s issues and the needs of other vulnerable people.
The Civil Society Organisation, CSO, “Reach Out Cameroon,” was founded in 1996 with Omam Esther as the Chief Executive Officer. After her life in education and obtaining a degree in Humanity, she pooled funds with people of like minds to care for the less privileged, women and children.
Talking to Cameroon Tribune in Buea recently, Omam said the desire to create “Reach Out Cameroon” began early in life when she saw her mother and father toil to make ends meet. As time went on, her passion for assisting children and women grew. The organisation now has three main areas of assistance - health, gender training and wealth creation. Under health, there are projects on malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS, water, hygiene and sanitation, vulnerable orphans and immunisation of children.
Under gender capacity-building, they work on human, women’s, cultural and the economic rights of women. Presently, they are focusing on empowering many female school dropouts in Tole near Buea. The girls are sensitised on the high rate of Sexually-transmissible Infections, STIs, receive family planning lessons and are offered micro-credits to engage in income-generating activities. “Reach Out Cameroon” has also economically empowered “Women of Faith,” a group of 500 widows, to assert their rights.
The charity also takes care of the rights of minority groups like Mbororos, Muslims and the MBOSCUDA Fulani group through literacy classes and offer of grants. Some community projects carried out include drinkable water in a secondary school and the construction of toilets in a village that had none. On the new provisions in the Penal Code, Omam says it is a welcome development because they have been advocating for the rights of women and gender equity. “It is a good beginning since these issues are now part of the Penal Code. This shows that Cameroonian women and men are now on the same wave length as far as women’s rights are concerned,” Omam Esther not