The Nwagni Project was created by six Albion College students, 5 of whom were first-years at the time. The project was inspired by their First-Year Experience trip to Cameroon in January 2006 with the class, Africa: Myths and Realities.
The trip was created in order to dispel rumors about Africa that many Westerners are lead to believe through the media. The trip turned out to be much more than the vacation the students had expected.
Sixteen students spent a day in the village of Batchingou, the home village of professor Dr. Emmanuel Yewah. In the village, students visited an elementary school and were able to sing, dance, and play with the children during their recess. Like the children that most of us know at home, these kids played, smiled, and wanted nothing more than the undivided attention of funny Americans. To a degree unlike what we see in the United States, however, these children found delight in the smallest things — stickers, candy, t-shirts, and were astounded by digital cameras.
Later that day, Albion College students were honored to have dinner with the village’s Chief. The Chief took time to explain through metaphor that the students had the option of being like chalk on a chalk board, easily wiped away, or like a seed that grows into a beautiful tree and creates more seeds. He then went on to speak of the village’s need to replace an abandoned school that was falling apart and too dangerous to be used.
When students visited that school, they were extremely moved by the conditions that these children had to live in as a result of the corruption, and economic stratification of their country. The walls of the dilapidated school were laying on the ground in pieces, and small brick building could have hardly been a constructive environment in which to learn. Furthermore, the school was at least one mile from fresh water, the retrieval of which required a long interruption in their school day.
Moved to action, about one third of the students on the trip took on the tremendous task of creating an organization that would fund the building of a new school, among other projects.
Since the Spring of 2006, the Nwagni Project has expanded in membership, held campus events, and raised over $26,000.00 in funds that have been put into a now completed kindergarten in Batchingou. The newly built school is a beautiful testament to the bond between Albion College students and the families of Batchingou.
It has been a long journey, and all of our members have grown and changed into global citizens preparing to change the world. The project is continuing to work for progress in Cameroon, and is currently raising funds for a clean water collection system for the schools, as well as a means for paying the salary of qualified teachers.
It is the support of community members like you that make our work possible, and have helped to motivate students to give back to their world. Thank you for your time, and dedication to this project — it is truly our passion and our honor to help our friends in Batchingou.