Wednesday, July 10, 2013
A Plea for Donations
If you're reading this, it's because I am reaching out to everyone in my personal network on behalf of the Cameroon Football Development Program (CFDP), a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with whom I am currently working in Cameroon. The organization is based jointly in Pittsburgh, Pa. and Kumba, Cameroon, and uses soccer as a vehicle for youth education in underserved areas of Cameroon.
Of course, the reason I'm reaching out to everyone is to ask for any kind of donation you may be willing to give that will help us ship 53 boxes of soccer equipment and school supplies from the US to Cameroon by the end of July. Over the past six months, I and other CFDP volunteers spent all sorts of time and money going up and down the East Coast to collect supplies and equipment from donors, but I don't think I realized how much more money it would cost still to actually get this stuff shipped to Cameroon. We have 53 boxes full with hundreds of soccer shoes and thousands of jerseys, shorts, warm-ups, socks, etc. that are currently in Philadelphia waiting to be shipped to a port in Douala, Cameroon. The estimated cost is $3,200. It seems like a lot, but I and a few other volunteers are reaching out to our family and friends, thinking that even if we get just $10 from 300 people, we can make this happen.
I apologize because many of you have already taken lots of time to help me gather donations around Pittsburgh and in Connecticut and I am conscious of the fact that now I am asking for more. First, I was asking for equipment donations, and so many friends and family came through with support. Now, I have asked again for monetary donations to help send this stuff to Cameroon. I'm not one to ask for things. I especially don't like asking for money. I always told myself that I didn't want to work for a non-profit organization for these reasons. But here I am. You can see how completely invested I am in this cause.
By now, I have been working in Cameroon for two months. I have witnessed firsthand the work that this organization puts out and the impact that they are making on young boys and girls here who really need our help. The program is absolutely phenomenal. It is not even three years new and over the past two months I have had numerous locals here tell me that they have never seen an NGO (non-governmental organization) grow in Kumba as fast as CFDP has. CFDP runs after-school sessions at secondary schools, is partnered with over a dozen youth football academies, and organizes all sorts of special events around the year throughout Kumba, during which they combine soccer activities with educational sessions about developing important life skills, HIV/AIDS awareness, etc. etc. Also, this coming Sunday, July 7, we are kicking off our CFDP U-16 Football League for Youth Development, which will combine educational activities with actual soccer matches.
It may sound like fun and games, but there is a serious need for CFDP in Cameroon. The problems here are real--Adults with corrupted mentalities, and kids who have no sense of direction because they are extremely underserved when it comes to education. I often go to local fields to play soccer and it is not uncommon that people are playing with torn shoes, or no shoes at all. There's also this guy that I have kind of befriended--He is employed by the government as a math teacher at a school here in Kumba. The guy is so dedicated; he loves loves loves math. But he hasn't been paid in nearly two months. He told me that he's had no food in his house for the past week. It's unbelievable. I could go on and on.
Anyway, CFDP operates under the belief that by using football--the one thing all boys and girls here love--it can help today's children in Cameroon develop the life skills they need to become good leaders who will make this country stronger in years to come. Our organization really has little to do with football. We are just using it to attract children and make them more receptive to our messages. The equipment that we are trying to get over here will help us meet this goal. It will be given not only to children, but also to adults who we have trained as "youth leaders" over the past few years to motivate them to continue to pass out our message around Kumba.
To all of you who donated equipment back in April, I thank you very much (and I'm sorry to now ask for more). I brought as much as I was allowed with me by plane back in May, but the majority of it is now still waiting in Philly to be shipped. I also won't forget to send you photos of the kids who have received your donations so far!
Okay, that's all. Sorry for the long-winded email. If you have anything to contribute, here is the link:
Please feel free to share this link and/or email with others in your personal network! Anything you can do even just to spread the word about our cause is a tremendous help.
Also, for more information about CFDP, feel free to check out the organization's website and/or read my blog. The links are posted below.
Words cannot express how much I appreciate you taking the time to read my plea! Thank you sincerely for your help.