Global Compassion helps children in Cameroon share their dreams
On Sunday, June 22, Global Compassion staff, along with intern Michael Lui, and Ngwatta Primary School Teacher Chemine Ekembong, facilitated a « Kids Have a Dream Workshop » in Ngwatta, Cameroon. Forty-five children ages 9-15 were in attendance and discovered, explored, and developed their dreams for the future. Children also participated in group discussions, exploring the concept and value of having a dream.
Group discussions were followed by an exercise where children drew their dreams and further developed them by sharing their reasoning for, and choice of, their dreams with facilitators and a group. For example, 12 year-old Ekembon Efon Taty shared that she sees children dying and this makes her sad, but that she wants to become a pediatrician to help prevent further deaths. Eleven year-old Awanga Ndobe Immeda said that she wishes to become a chef because she likes to prepare meals for her family. Through exercises such as these, children from Ngwatta are reacting to their environment and are aspiring to use their passions and talents for the benefit of their communities.
To become a teacher was the most popular dream expressed by the children, occurring nine times, while becoming a doctor was second with six children. Becoming a football player and becoming a police officer tied, occurring four times each. These four professions make up 51% of the presented dreams. The remainder of the dreams were unique and varied, from an explorer to a computer scientist to a plumber to a pilot. The boy to girl ratio was nearly equal at 23:22.
Data illustrates a strong female insurgence in a male-dominated medical profession, with five girls choosing to become a doctor or nurse compared to only two boys. A similar trend is also apparent in the security field, with an equal number of females (three) aspiring to join the police or army as their male counterparts (also three). While there still exists gender norms and tendencies regarding teachers and sports professions, every dream to become a teacher belonged to a female with the exception of one male. Every dream to be a football/soccer player belonged to a male. Despite the daunting context of Cameroon’s lack of social resources, infrastructure, and specialized education, there was no shortage of challenging dreams, as some children wished to be pilots, chemists, and computer scientists.
Ngwatta children have a great diversity of dreams that could, if realized, challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace. Medical and Education sectors were the most popular, followed by Security and Professional Athletics sectors. Global Compassion recommends supporting present aspirations, but recommends encouraging girls to aspire to futures in sports and boys to aspire to futures in teaching. Global Compassion also recommends providing resources and practicums for children aspiring to pursue the exceptionally difficult dreams in aviation, computer science, and chemistry.