I am Ateh Ngwenyi Vera, born on the 11th of July 1999 in Yaounde Cameroon. A level 1 student at the Higher Institute of Economics and Commerce Douala. I am proud child of God. A blazer and a world changer.
Growing up, I was in charge of emptying the trash can. Sometimes it was fun but other times it wasn’t, especially when school kept me busy and I had just Sunday to do that. Looking at other kids and families, I noticed emptying the trash can was really a burden. Worse of all, some kids who hated the task often dropped their trash on the road at night while others went to sleep. Examining all these, I was inspired to do something about the situation. I came up with the idea of The HAVILAH project in 2017.
The purpose of Havilah and co is to keep Cameroon cities clean and make them a “Havilah” (city of gold), maintain high level of hygienic conditions in Cameroon homes, streets, quarters despite the poor nature of some infrastructures and encourage volunteerism amongst young people in Cameroon. Our main objective is raising a team of patriotic youths who are ready to volunteer in order to keep the environment clean.
- Door to door collection of waste.
- Offering bin bags after waste collection.
- General cleanups in the quarters and streets.
- Encourage youths in each quarter to participate in cleaning (Volunteerism). This is because they have full mastery of the terrain.
- Sensitize the population on need to maintain high level of hygienic conditions.
- Make households see the benefits of “Havilah”
IMPACT OF THE PROJECT.
- The environment will be neat hence free from mosquitoes and other disease causing insects.
- Youths who idle in the quarters smoking, drinking, stealing will have something to keep them busy hence reduction in crime wave.
- It will save households the stress of waiting for HYSACAM ( Hygiene et salubrite du Cameroun a french acronym meaning “Hygiene and Health in Cameroun”) or looking for the nearest available trash can.
- Areas not accessible to HYSACAM will have an easier way to dispose their waste.
- It will avoid flooding caused by waste disposal in streams and gutters.
- It will prevent pollution (land, air and water), and preserve the earth.
- Getting youths to participate because many youths in Cameroon shy away from volunteering.
- Getting equipment and other cleanup accessories needed
- Disposing the waste after cleanups and collection.
I shared the idea with someone but it wasn’t appreciated so I was discouraged. But I kept it for myself and always went back to look at it. In August 2018, while going through my news feed on Facebook, I came across a project sponsored by the DELLY SINGAH FOUNDATION. Winner was eligible to 100.000FCFA if her project was voted for. After contemplating for a while, I decided to drop my project. Lo and behold, I was selected as 7 best and finally emerged as 1st after voting. I received this cash prize with much joy because I least expected it.
In October 2018, I launched the HAVILAH project thanks to DELLY SINGAH FOUNDATION. To be honest, the money couldn’t sponsor the whole project, but it enabled me purchase some cleanup materials. Launched general cleanups and volunteerism with the equipment available. Getting volunteers wasn’t an easy one I must confess. After sharing the vision with a teens group THE TRAILBLAZERS, they bought the idea. They decided to incorporate the “OPERATION HAVILAH” as one of their activities. I have worked with them since the launch of my project and we have carried out 2 major general cleanups in Yaounde Cameroon. My satisfaction so far, is seeing youths engage in volunteerism.
“OPERATION HAVILAH” is still at its baby face but one thing I’m
confident of is that God who gave me the idea is going to enable me actualize
it completely. Hoping in the days ahead
to get enough funds in order to launch all the services of the Havilah project.
LESSONS I’VE LEARNT SO FAR
- Always believe in yourself such that if no one does, you’ll still be super confident.
- Just because no one has tried it and it worked doesn’t mean you can’t try it.
- Dream big but start small when opportune to. If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. Don’t only end at talking about your dreams only, get to work
- Your first trial shouldn’t determine your next move (even if it’s a failure), keep pressing towards your goals
- Don’t blindly use social media. Use it to create links, networks, opportunities that’ll benefit you.