School Reopening: Over 6,000 Convicts’ Children Assisted In 10 Years

A local charity, REPCAM, has been supporting the children of prisoners in three jails in and around Yaounde.

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As parents and guardians step up preparations for the next school year, people of goodwill have not forgotten the children of prison detainees and convicts. The “Relais Enfants-Parents du Cameroun” charity has in 10 years offered gifts to 6,200 children of convicts in the Kondengui, Yaounde Maximum Security Prison, the Yaounde Main Prison, Kondengui and Mfou Prison on the outskirts of Yaounde.

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Claire Mimboe Ndi-Samba, President of “Relais Enfants-Parents du Cameroun,” REPCAM, spoke to Cameroon Tribune on Saturday, August 27, 2016, while offering assistance to children of prisoners in the Kondengui, Yaounde Maximum Security Prison. She acknowledged that the task has not been easy as children of convicts are often stigmatised for the crimes their parents committed. “Coming to offer school reopening gifts in the presence of imprisoned parents helps in strengthening family bonds of unity,” Claire Ndi-Samba explained.

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“These children are orphans of a different kind who need to know that though one or both of their parents are in jail, they must continue with school because their parents still love them,” she noted. This year, the donation to 583 pupils and students in the three prisons in and around Yaounde cost about 4 million FCFA. Support came from five donors, while REPCAM’s 23 members contributed most of the money. The gifts included school bags, exercise books, stationery and science textbooks for a few high school students.

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Earlier, Tafepo Etienne of the Kondengui Maximum Security Prison and representatives of convicts and beneficiary children lauded REPCAM for the gesture. Tafepo recalled how REPCAM celebrated Mothers’ Day with female inmates last June, imploring the public to pray for the children of convicts to succeed in life. The event was enlivened by the performances of King Creol, a professional dancer and his group, and Benjo Kiss, a Bikutsi artiste.  

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