I am Teh Francis, founder of EnKindle Cameroon. I started working with rural women since 2007, trying to find a way whereby rural women can break free from the cycles of poverty and start to contribute something positive for their lives, family and community. Everything is linked to my background experiences. I would have had a hassle free education if at all my mother had something doing for a living. She and all the other women in my father’s compound looked up to my father for financial assistance. He had only a meager income that came from his small coffee farm. This had a negative effect on us children.. It took me more than 12 years after primary school before securing a secondary school certificate and only then because I had grown up to fend for myself.
In all my struggles I was always determined that if I ever had the opportunity I will do something to alleviate the plight of rural women. Goodness and Mercy Missions was founded in 2007 for that purpose. We worked with women in groups for their economic empowerment. They did small income generating activities and with the proceeds helped in the education of their children. They still managed small budgets. We saw them as women we need to pity.
Attending the kanthari training course for social change makers in India in 2016, my whole concept in my perception of rural women changed drastically. I started seeing rural women from a new perspective, not as people who will depend forever on charitable work. The women have a lot of self-worth and potentials that can be tapped for their financial empowerment. The problem is not the women’s inability, lack of proper education, skills, etc., but how society has conditioned them to be. They have been taught from generation to generation that they have to live a life of dependency and that certain tasks in society like income generation are masculine in nature.
This transformation of concept birthed EnKindle Cameroon. Through it we shall help women to discover and ignite their passions. We shall also focus in developing their individual skills and interests to take matters into their own hands. I look forward to the day rural women in Cameroon are famous for making independent financial decisions, a day when women fully participate in the education of their children.