George’s Story: Women’s rights in Cameroon

Site Visit 3 – Association for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights (Limbe, Cameroon) – Pt. 3/4

George, the founder, was a passionate man. He gestured wildly as he sat on his desk. He was frank. He was emotional—his eyes teared when he led the opening prayer for our meeting. Instead of just taking notes on the organization and his work, I found myself furiously scribbling down his exact words. My pen struggled to keep up with him. 

When you marry a woman you believe that she is under you. That is the African mentality. This is true. 

George wanted us to understand the unfairness of the patriarchal society that he sees around him. Men have the power. The interests of women and children are often ignored. 

It’s a cultural taboo. You cannot say no papa, I don’t want to go. They have no force. 

When he was young, his grandfather married his aunt off while she was still a child simply because he had a debt that he could not pay off. 

My aunt is still alive. And I know women are still suffering like this. And no one is talking to them.

So that’s precisely what George and his staff at APWCR do. They listen to women and children’s complaints about the injustices committed against them, and they do their best to help them right the wrongs done. 

When I first heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I saw many things that contradicted it around me.

It is easy to take the document for granted. But for George, it was an eye-opening discovery. The world had agreed that everyone deserved the same rights, and yet in his very own home he could see people being denied these rights.

My professor told me: “This spirit that you have, reached to this level. Continue. You will go somewhere”.

Impressed and inspired by George’s energy and enthusiasm, his professor encouraged him to pursue his passion on human rights.

They laughed at us. Instead of taking this money to do business, you give it to humanity that you don’t see.

George talked about the naysayers and skeptics who don’t understand his desire to help others. But still he continues, with a dedicated staff of local volunteers—one, a retired policeman, had been working with him for 10 years. 

When he realized that she was a woman, he wanted to use his superiority to take the property. She had no voice and suffered for many years.

In one of George’s proudest cases, APWCR had helped a woman who inherited property from her father. But the man who had formerly managed the property decided to forge documents that claimed that he was the rightful owner. APWCR listened to her case, gave her a voice and within two months managed to have the property returned to her. 

—-

Check out George’s video message to you (also featuring Meg hacking down plantain!), Meg’s post on the site visit and my other post on APWCR!  

How you can help: Donate to his project, called “Grow plantains & support human rights in Cameroon!” 

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