It was so exciting to learn this week that the little primary school at Fungeh is still doing well.
When we first visited Fungeh, back in 2008, the school was being held in a crumbling ruin with a meagre thatch roof. The children had a constant battle with rain and wind coming into the classroom damaging most of their work. Education was an uphill struggle: children and parents alike became disillusioned and no-one seemed to ever progress beyond primary school.
By 2009 we had raised the required money and completed a new school building, a new latrine and provided clean drinking water. The whole community was uplifted and the children poured into the new classrooms singing “This is the day we have been waiting for!”. We held our breath – we weren’t sure that it was going to make sufficient difference for children to really succeed – but by the following year, GS Fungeh had ten children pass their final exams and move on to secondary school. These were the first children from the village ever to go on to secondary education. We were thrilled.
The school continued to thrive until 2016, when a long-standing political crisis escalated into widespread violence across the two anglophone regions, and all schools in the NW and SW regions of Cameroon were closed. School buildings were locked up and children were kept at home for almost five years while war raged all around them. We held little hope that this Government school would ever function again – but we were wrong. The villagers of Fungeh re-opened the classrooms in late 2020 and are running the school as a community learning centre. Parents have organised a PTA and have recruited local teachers: there are 162 children enrolled in the school and this year 6 pupils passed their First School Leaving Certificate and will be able to go on to secondary school.
Although the building is looking a bit grubby, the fact that it is operating as a school is little short of a miracle – and we are so delighted to be able to share this good news.