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Empowerment Through Sport for the Mamas of Rural Cameroon

Grandmather activists making themselves visible

August 26, 2012 shall forever remain historic in the minds of some 70 mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers, aged 75 and above who participated in a 700m honorary fast walk race in Bafanji Village, Northwest region, Cameroon.

The whole idea of Make Mama Visible began eight months ago, after series of friendly visits in some rural communities across the nation, in which I realised the living conditions of most aged mothers in rural Cameroon are so deplorable, full of sadness and pain – with little or no special medical attention and/or healthcare facilities. Again, I noticed that many of the aged mothers live alone, and would have to farm, cook, and walk distances to fetch water.

In addition, I also realised that most of these aged mothers have become caregivers to their great grandchildren, whose parents are either dead or have migrated to the urban cities (diasporas) in search for better livelihoods.

In pursuit of how to make mamas happy, honoured, and not to feel deserted, the thought of a public walk came to mind, to create space for aged mothers to become visible through sport.

And Bafanji village became the ideal community to begin with.

Bringing the Community Together

Thanks to our sponsors’ generous support, this maiden edition of MAKE MAMA VISIBLE was a huge success.

For it was able to attract as many as 200 interested individuals across all works of life – the media, the traditional elites, business entrepreneurs, tycoons, local government, and other international networks – each of whom related to the need of bringing attention to aging mothers' special needs.

Rewakening New Perspectives for Elder Mothers

And I am proud to say that, just days after the race, MAKE MAMA VISIBLE participants have all been profiled on the International Museum Of Women (IMOW) global arts photography project, which highlights the values of Motherhood. And Bafanji community is proud to have been the first to welcome the idea to reawaken new thinking and perspectives about [elderly] mothers.

Again, recently, I received calls from some elites from neighboring villages requesting for a similar event on aged mothers in their communities.

In addition, I also received invitation from some interested persons in Buea and Alou in the Southwest region and Bamileke communities (Western region) to organize an aged mother race there.

Meanwhile, many families are already talking about bringing friends and relatives to see them next year!

Grateful Appreciation

In all, the project MMV was able to raise FCFA 879500 and a great deal of those funds came directly from our sponsors and partners: Soucedu pay.com, Olutosin Tie and Dye, VIAF, RUWDEC, WFAC Buea, HRM Fon F.N Ngwefuni II of Bafanji, Mbondgulo Patrick Nkwuti, and other individuals who would like to be kept anonymous.

It is worth noting that this race couldn't have been done without our sponsors’ generosity and volunteers’ commitment.

And I couldn’t dare conclude my appreciation without saying thanks to the MMV energetic and committed volunteers team: Yonga Nelly, Fonge Peeters, Ivy Laura, Makieh Mafor Nancy, Pa Vincent Ndimanjeh, Ngwana Bridget Wondieh,

Once more, thanks for putting a smile on mama’s face!

Dear Sponsors:
On behalf of the MAKE MAMA VISIBLE team, I would sincerely like to extend a heart-felt thank you to
all our donors and volunteers for their generous contribution and commitment to making this event a success!

And to all the beneficiaries; the mamas [mothers], I say thanks for courageously participating in the race
and bringing aged mother to the spotlight
.

I look forward to speaking with you more about next year's event in the upcoming months.

Read More: ZoFem

DOWNLOAD the following Documents to see what happened in Bafanji.

MAKE MAMA VISIBLE Media Report (published by the Post Newspaper; the nation's most read English print

MAKE MAMA VISIBLE Event Report

This article is a re-post from A Safe World For Women, Women Change (WFAC) For A Change - Host organisation

MAKE MAMA VISIBLE Media Report (published on the PostNewspaper; the nation's most read print)

Comments

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Yes! Make Mama Visible!

Dear Zoneziwah,

Thank you for your wonderful testimony about the Make Mama Visible fast walk race in Bafanji Village, Cameroon!
Your writing is strong and positive and this event was a brilliant idea! With every step, these women, and you, begin to improve life for aged mothers. I have great admiration for what you have done and are doing.

Do you know about The Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers? You probably do, but if not, here is the link to their site. I'll bet they would love to know what you are doing, if they don't already know.

http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org/

I wish you ongoing energy, courage, strength and support!

With Respect,

Interfaith Reverend Sarah

Hi Sarah with an H,

I just checked out the grandmother site you recommended. Aren't they remarkable and a vitamin to the world?

Thanks telling about it.

Ubuntu,
Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

zoneziwoh's picture

Amazing site, Sarah. Thanks

Amazing site, Sarah. Thanks for sharing. I had not heard of them. It feels so nice to know of grandmothers movement across the globe. Recently, I was introduced to www.globalgrandmotherpower.com, another powerful platform for grandma activists. I believe it is high time, We all get involve and engage with all the networks promoting aging mothers activism.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Wendyiscalm's picture

Wonderful work !

Dear Zonesiwa,

This is wonderful and so are you.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together)

Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

zoneziwoh's picture

Thank you!

Dear Sis, many thanks for your lovely encouraging words. I am glad you shared in the mission to bringing aged mothers to the spotlight. Together, we shall MAKE MAMA HAPPY and VISIBLE.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Sharontina's picture

Thanks

Hey friends,

This comes to me as a health tonic. I was just wondering how i am going to make it for the grandmas here in a fishing village for they wanted livelihood and a source to promote their sales of dried fish with a brand. I was waiting for some sponsorship and funds to provide this so that they can sustain it with this start. Thanks a lot.

Hugs to you dear zoneziwoh. And love you sisters.

Merlin Sharontina

zoneziwoh's picture

Dear Sis

My sister, glad this project could serve as a source of inspiration. Such an exercise or better still, aging mothers game can definitely bring visibility to their creativity; works.
I strongly believe what the Grandmas are doing is formidable. It kind of interesting seeing them do fishing. Aged mothers are indeed power and great activists.
Please; keep inform on your advocacy strategy to bringing visibility to the aged fishermothers.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Mukut's picture

Great work

This is brilliant Zoneziwoh. Kudos to you and your team for making the aging mother's visible in the community and catering to their needs.

Carry on the great work.

Much love,

Mukut Ray

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: Great Work

My sis, many thanks.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

olutosin's picture

STANDING BY YOU!!!

We are together. I LOVE YOU AND YOUR INITIATIVES....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

zoneziwoh's picture

Thank you Sis. we are into

Thank you Sis. we are into this ministry together.

in sisterhood!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

noreens's picture

Zoneziwoh, You have created

Zoneziwoh,

You have created such a nice project for people who are often overlooked. I'm happy for your success, and I wish you much more in the future!

Noreen

zoneziwoh's picture

Many thanks dear Sis

Sis Noreen, many thanks. I am glad you share in this vision. Together we shall built a better world for all; Old, young shall be happy.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

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