DIRECTOR: ETANG SAMUEL MANYI MBENG
Having grown up an orphan in an impoverished forest community of Western Cameroon, Etang knows first-hand the suffering that the people of his project area endure. With help from a distant relative, he was able to pursue an education and escape the poverty of his youth. Now he is using his education to help others. As he says, “Someone needs to sacrifice to help others achieve their dreams. I choose to be that person.”
Etang particularly values projects focusing on education and agriculture, and works with the most vulnerable members of the forest communities in his area. So far, the war has not directly impacted his area, so he continues to implement valuable agricultural projects. From high-yield cassava and maize projects to piggeries, he is empowering single mothers and other vulnerable women with income generating projects, combining education with access to raw materials and processing equipment. With entrepreneurial skills and cooperative marketing, women are escaping home violence and malnutrition.
Though not directly impacted by the war, his communities are impacted indirectly as wave after wave of war refugees (IDPs) have found their way into his area. Unable to ignore the tremendous suffering of these people, he created a Vocational Training Center in Limbe to teach computer and food service skills to IDPs and landslide victims. These skills will greatly help families find jobs in a town environment, allowing them to escape dehumanizing living conditions.