School is not free in Kumbo, Cameroon. If parents want to send their children to elementary school and high school they have to pay each year for tuition and books, even in government-run schools. On average, the total cost for one year of school is roughly $250. In a country where the average annual income is only $1050 (Worldbank), it can be very challenging to put an entire family through school.
The Himalayan Institute Cameroon has been working hard to support families in Kumbo by providing scholarship assistance. To date, the HIC has assisted:
- 26 students in 2008
- 42 students in 2009
- Our Goal: 100 students in 2010.
The financial assistance goes towards, books, materials, uniforms and tuition. To further help reduce the cost of education, the HIC has dedicated a section of its Kumbo Public Library to house every text book needed in Kumbo schools. This collection includes over 1000 books and is available to the student to study from at no cost.
To start the school year off on the right foot, the HIC hosts an annual Back to School party each September, which allows children to gather at the community center and enjoy food, games and festivities. This year the 98 students that came to the party each received notebooks, pens, pencils and a ruler.