A Brief History of the Malima Primary School
The village of Gouria is situated in the extreme north of Cameroon in the Kapsiki mountains. Village children had very little chance of education. The existing school was a derelict building with unqualified teachers doing their best to give the enthusiastic children some level of learning. Conditions were intolerable, with more than 100 children all crammed into one single classroom.
In 1999, therefore, Cambridge House, along with a group of other schools in Spain including The British School Alzira, Hastings School Madrid, and Newton College Elche, financed the construction and maintenance of a small school for the children in the village who most needed it. They did this by organising fund-raising events in School. The new school is called Malima, a Kapsiki word meaning protector. Malima is also the name of the mountain at the foot of which our school is placed.
14 years ago Malima Primary School was born, with 50 children enrolled. Now there are approximately 200 in Primary and another 120 who have progressed to one of the Secondary schools in the area. We have also built a small Pre-School to prepare approximately 75 children for their entry into the Primary system.
With the help of financing from the European Union we were able to build two more classrooms and in 2010 were able to complete our target of 6 primary classrooms plus 2 pre-school rooms. We now employ a total of 10 teachers including the two ladies who are currently joint school directors and head teachers.
Apart from providing the official education, we encourage the parents to vaccinate their children and for them to obtain birth certificates as this is very important for their civil rights and for them to get jobs in the future. We insist on equal opportunities for all the children. In 2004, the school carried out the very first complete census of all the inhabitants of Gouria (the Cameroon government only registers people who vote).
In 2006 two private companies based in L'Eliana financed the provision of electricity to the village for the very first time, thereby increasing the number of hours of light to be able to use the school for longer. Electricity also brings the possibility of the development of small businesses which use the school facilities and will perhaps allow the school to begin to be self-funded.
In 2007, money raised by various schools in Spain enabled us to search and find an underground water supply and sink a well. Another NGO then paid for the pump to enable villagers to access the water. (In the dry season, they would go without water as they did not know how to tap into the underground supply).
By 2012, we were also financing the education of more than 120 ex-alumni who elected to go on to Secondary school. Two girls who were among our founding students back in 1999, have now actually completed their secondary education. We are extremely proud of them.
In 2013 we were able to extend our project to other villages nearby. We built a classroom for the public school of Tchanawa and opened a new preschool attached to the public school of Mouvou. 50 children of 5 years of age attend school here. We also continued to organise adult literacy lessons both in Mouvou and in Gouria at different levels.
In 2015 our first student Koyengni Jeannette finished her teacher training first in her class. It is our hope that we will be able to continue to build and run preschools in other villages.
Another of our first students is also working in a health education project in the local area.