Some meritorious youths of the Akum origin in the North West Province, resident in Douala, were last Saturday, August, 26, 2006, benefactors of a goodwill gesture from the Akum Welfare Association (AWA), a development association of the village, through its child education encouragement program.
These youths who were 130 in number both from the primary secondary and high schools in Douala, were given prizes ranging from cash of about FCFA 10 000 Frs. to school equipment like books, pens, pencils etc.
Speaking to the over 2000 people present at the Akum Community hall in Bepanda Omnisport to witness the 11th edition of the program, Mr Tanjong Tita Philip, the fund president said that this edition is a turning point in that they have seen the successful implementation of the average ranking system as against what was done in the past 10 years, thereby leading to an increase in the number of recipients from 90 to 130.
He thanked the parents and well-wishers of Akum for the financial and material support which has ensured the success of the event. While thanking parents who contributed heavily to the fund though their children did not receive any gift, he regretted that some parents who sent in their children's report cards for evaluation, failed to contribute to the fund, and appealed to them to forward their contributions as the door is still open.
For his part, Mr Nji Pius Tumasang, the Douala Branch President of the association, encouraged both meritorious and undeserving children present to work harder against this academic year. The children were informed that a special prize on academic excellence will be awarded to the best student from next year, and challenged them to strive for the prize.
Mr Tandafor Aze Francis who was the chairman of the occasion, expressed joy in seeing young Akum children present in their number to witness the ceremony, and thanked all the children who made an effort to multiply the number this year as against last year. Speaking to journalists, Mr Fonkah Evaristus, the general secretary of the fund, explained that this initiative started in the village by their parents, with encouragement prizes awarded to about 20 children.
He further explained that the children were not receiving prizes as such, but small packages to encourage them worker harder in school. The association, he said, was created in 1944 in Nigeria and funds for the child education program are raised from members of AWA, who are mostly parents, through donations of as little as 500Frs, and the total amount raised this year was about FCFA 920 000.
Mr Fonkah further explained that beneficiaries are selected according to class averages, which are graded into A, B and C, ranging between 12 to 20, and the highest this year had an average of 18, with Suh Laureal in class three and Chofor Blake who is going to form two distinguishing themselves as the best overall this year. Children who distinguished themselves in the ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels were also encouraged.
The event was animated by songs, rhymes, poems, debates, drama, ballet and fashion parade by the children with some of the songs and poems said in the vernacular. The Akum Development Association is a developmental association which seeks for the welfare of its indigenes.
It meets once in a while and votes budgets for the realisation of village projects like electricity water and road, and presently, they are reconstructing the fon's palace and the road that leads to it. Thanks to it, most of the streets in Akum are tarred and have electricity while most of the quarters have potable water.