Volunteering for CAEPA Cameroon

If you notice, I’ve been posting lots of article on CAEPA Cameroon lately. And why exactly ? Cameroon is in North West of Africa and why specifically that organization ?

So let me start from the beginning and tell you all about it. I am an online volunteer for CAEPA Cameroon. How did I become their volunteer when I’m in UK and they’re in Africa ? It’s easy all I did was registered myself as a United Nation online volunteer and I am able to search for volunteering opportunities across the world in various field. The volunteering tasks varies as well which is really interesting and you will get a certificate at the end of your volunteering period. It’s good because even if you’re unable to be physically present you are still able to provide support and help the organizations in your own way. In a way it also helps you build certain skills and you are free to learn at your own pace within the deadline given.

I applied to be a volunteer in charge of social media for CAEPA so that I can enhance my social media and IT skills. Considering how I had a working experience with social media and marketing, I thought I would put it to good use and help them in terms of social media. I will be assisting them for a duration of 10 months; 6 hours a week which is very flexible and it doesn’t even affect other commitments I have. One of the reason why I volunteered to be part of CAEPA is because they are a charity body with very good ideas and concepts that revolve around agriculture and community improvements. I must say that although they are not widely known like other NGOs, they are working very hard to provide for the community in Cameroon, particularly women and children. It makes me happy to know that people from all over the world are putting efforts to empower women and educate children regardless of their condition. This is what we call humanity. Helping those who needs it and providing them what is rightfully theirs. Knowing how amazing they are working to improve their community, I simply cannot resist to be part of it and help them too in a way that I am capable of. Their current project ‘Women 4 Climate Change’ is about fighting the global climate issue and at the same time empowering women in Cameroon by providing support in ‘operation 100 trees’ for 30 women. Agriculture is a significant industry especially with our growing global population today. Many of us have been focusing too much on technology developments and such but we tend to neglect the primary sectors that have great influence in our daily lives. So well done to CAEPA Cameroon for engaging with the primary sector and using that method to empower women ! They are also involved with other efforts; one I particularly respect is how they are providing a home for orphans in Cameroon and support them in any way they can to ensure these kids receive good education and are in good health.

So if you are interested in volunteering, you must check out CAEPA Cameroon’s international volunteer programme. They have all sorts of roles available and there is even a chance to experience working at a bee farm ! You can also show your support in their current project to empower women and fight climate change by donating to them. Do support them and get to know more about them through their official website.

This are the relevant links :
CAEPA Cameroon
CAEPA Cameroon Facebook page
United Nation Online Volunteer

If you have any questions about CAEPA or UN online volunteer just drop a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them ūüôā

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my batik experience.

Ever heard the word ‘batik‘ before? It’s a traditional art painting on cloth and have been around for as long as I know in the southeast Asian region. The process of batik is very fancy and artistic, with candle wax and all sorts of tool (they use calligraphic candle wax pen to draw it’s called tjanting; you should really google it up if you’re not sure what it is).

Anyway, during Spring term I had the opportunity to introduce batik to my university. It is really amazing how the university provide various opportunities so we can discover potentials and push our limits. The scheme I joined was the SU Enterprise Space Scheme, a scheme that allows me to run my own business for a few weeks. So, what is this scheme all about ?

Got an entrepreneurial idea but not sure how or where to start? That is where the Students’ Union comes in. Basically I submitted my idea and draft a proposal with budget and costs (that was quite a tricky part for me). Once it is approved by the SU, we start rolling. I got my team of volunteers and set up a timetable for everyone. Since I was tied with two other on-campus jobs, I had to rely a lot on my team with the sales. They were really supportive though which is great because in business without a good team you’ll probably have a hard time making things work. Once I got my ¬†inventories shipped over from Malaysia, I started moving in to the shop. Yes, we do get a shop, it’s sort of like a pop up shop idea so it’s ours for a few weeks. In my case, Batiks was open for a duration of six weeks. We sold various kinds of products ranging from ¬£1 to ¬£15. I even had the chance to sell my batik tops I personally sew back when I was home for the summer!

Overall, I must say the experience taught me a lot. It was fun, interesting even especially on days when we make good sales and the whatsapp group will be buzzing with excitement. But there are times that it can be very challenging too. I had a hard time setting the selling price to ensure that it is not too expensive for students and at the same time take into account the cost and VAT tax. Creating a schedule was not easy because everyone is available at different time and sometimes there are last minute changes they can’t make it to the shop. It taught me about how to always have a backup plan in case the original plan don’t work and trust me juggling between three work including the batik shop and studying and participating in a society disciplined me well enough to manage time, prioritize and always plan ahead. I have this book I carry around so I can write down notes about the things I have to do, what time I have to be at the office or report for duty. My Spring term was indeed crazy and hectic. But I know people who have done more and I truly respect their will power. I must say that running an actual shop is not only about sales and profit. I learned about management- managing people, inventory and also managing promotion. It’s not a one man show anymore and I have to take into account a lot of other things before making decisions. Of course I gained some good lessons on how to use the cash EPOS system which was something I’ve always wanted to learn. It’s amazing how this experience taught me to be more open and gave me the chance to meet and communicate with various people in university.

I especially enjoy seeing people use the things I sell, knowing that they own a piece of Malaysia, my home country. I want people to realize that doesn’t mean we are moving towards the technology and innovation era we don’t have to focus on culture anymore. Without the culture, we are just like others as culture is part of who we are. It’s what makes us different. That was why I chose batik for the scheme. I could have sold something else that was easier to manage but I wanted to show the world about batik, educate them about our culture. The whole process wasn’t easy even from the start as I had to shipped the products, get my parents’ help from Malaysia to buy the products on my behalf and even sort the courier procedures. But if you ask me to do it again, I would still choose batik as my main concept.

So that was my batik experience. I had a good time joining the scheme and it gave me a firsthand experience on what is it like to run my own business and shop. Despite the challenges and the tight schedule, I must say that it was an awesome scheme to join and I would have regretted if I didn’t take part in it. I’ve always been interested about sewing and now I can say that I’m one step closer to be ready to have my own sewing cafe in the future.

Check out our page Batiks if you want to see the range of designs and clothes. We even made a video on the different ways to wear a batik pareo/sarong !

a note.

This one’s for everyone out there.

There are times in this life you’ll fall so hard you don’t even want to rise again. You’ll get hurt over and over again as you grow older till at one point you just feel numb. You’ll probably fail a test for the first time in your life and it’s not going to be a pretty feeling. Or that time when you lost someone dear to you and you’ll never see this world the same way again. Or that time when you realized that you are different and people hate you for being you. The world can be so challenging you have to convince yourself you’ll get by every single morning because deep down you’re already tired living. Every day you have to put on that cruel mask because if not, people will just step on you. You build your walls because you’ve given up trying to let people in and see that you are not a freak, just different. One day you wake up knowing that you will be a parent. Of course you’re overjoyed with the news, but you’re calculating all sorts of figure at the back of your mind, worrying about how you’ll give the best to the new life you’ll be raising. That time when you feel hopeless with nobody to turn to, all dreams crushed to the ground and everything seems a dead end. You look for comfort everywhere, but no aid came to rescue.

Yes, this world can be cruel and you’ll be disappointed countless number of times you don’t even know if you’re actually disappointed anymore.

What you should know is that, despite all this negativity that’s been going on in life you are not alone.

Never alone.

And if you look hard enough, you’ll realize that beneath all this pain lies happiness. It surrounds you every single day. You just have to open your eyes and celebrate the beauty of life, flawed as it can be.

No words can tell you about how things will be fine tomorrow and there is no point in saying it when nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. But there’s always hope. For a better tomorrow. A better life. It’s what keeps us going. If you’re feeling numb about this life, take a look around you. Find the things that make you feel again, find the hope that will light up your eyes again.

This life can be unfair, painful and everything else negative you name it. But that doesn’t give you the right to lose yourself and drown further.

There are bad times and the good times. ¬†The good times are like gold so treasure them because when you’ve got nothing left in you to face this world, it is the good times that will help you find that courage.

Get up, rise and fight for your happiness. Don’t ever let the dark clouds kill your spirit. You are stronger than you know and if the world constantly challenge you, show them that with every scar, you will shine brighter, bright enough to light up the whole world.

Will you take action or simply look?

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This was taken from a charity organisation based in UK called World Animal Protection. Can you see what’s the problem with this picture ?
I would have just shake my head if you ask me the same question a few years back. But that was before I found out how animals are treated with such cruelty behind this act they put on as a show for entertainment. It’s where the problem lies, not many people are aware how these animals are treated when they are not being paraded. When I was younger I thought they were treated well and that is why they become tame, because they are loyal to the owners for taking them in. I got excited every time I am close up with a tiger but it striked my mind how weird it is to see a tiger so passive, so emotionless; unlike the glorious and fierce animals they should be by nature. It got me thinking how these tigers are “tamed” and the articles I found about it was horrifying. It is almost impossible to imagine what kind of humans can afford to use such torturous methods just so they can take advantage of the animals’ uniqueness and make money out of it. It’s a shame, really. While some people find it normal to beat up animals and starve them so they listen to you, I personally think that it is wrong and unethical. There are no doubt other ways to find a source of income and although this world can be harsh without money, the animals don’t belong to you or anyone and they shouldn’t be used for your own benefit.

I am not sure if you’ve heard of the ‘Water for Elephant’ movie, the main star was Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon but that movie showed me how animals was living behind the scenes. I remembered I almost stopped watching the movie when the other guy was hitting the elephant over and over again so the elephant gets into training. All for a circus performance which was disgusting.

If you asked me a few years ago, I would have gotten excited if I get to pat a tiger. But today, not anymore. I would rather watch a tiger from far, in their natural form; a fierce & glorious predator. After all, that is how a tiger should be. And that is why they are beautiful.

So say no to animal cruelty. They should be free and not chained. I am supporting this motion to make Tripadvisor stop promoting such cruel entertainment and you can also make a difference by visiting the World Animal Protection website to sign the petition.

Society can be mean

How so?

I am not saying the kind of cruel that abuse others or torture animals, no not that kind of cruelty although it does exist sadly. What I’m saying is how we succumb easily to society’s judgements. Look around and you can see how hungry we are to get society’s approval, to ‘belong’ and be part of them. I’m not sure about other countries but from where I come from, your grades are used to measure how smart you are, or not. If you start failing subjects, people around you and even parents will start getting mad and they do all kinds of things to make sure you ace. But I often ask myself, if a kid is just not good in something and you invest so much in that particular something just so you can obtain a grade A, is it really worth it ? All those investment could have been for something your kid truly likes and who knows for that same amount of investment, the kid will probably not just ace but become a genius in that particular area.

Education is so much more than grades and I cannot understand why society uses grades to measure intellegence level of the youth. Easy example is the science and art stream. Just because you join the science stream you become among the best and you get all the attention while other students are neglected to study and struggle on their own. Many , many times people have proved that getting good grades does not mean you are smart and bullet proof. Because we are so affected by how society view education, we tend to forget our own strength. Children disappointed over and over again because they thought they are a failure when they get lower than grade A. They go so deep to prove that they are worth it and just as smart but they neglect the unique talent they have. We cannot always compare ourselves with the society. That would be cruel to ourselves when you actually worth more than that.

Another example I see every day is how people are willing to go all out just to boast to the society. Some people can spend all their wealth for luxury items because by owning those items they feel that they are part of the society. Well it doesn’t really matter on what you spend when you have lots and lots of money but it’s not really good when you take loans just to own certain luxury items. I’ve seen people getting emotional on social media just because they can’t have those things and they admitted how broke they will be but still proceed. Rationally, spending beyond your limits is a no-no. But people do it often because they want to be accepted by society, because the society puts it that way.

There are so many other examples we see every day and I’m sure if you take a step back you would realize it too.

As I grow older, I’ve seen how society can crush a person’s life without even lifting a finger. I’ve seen how hungry people are for society’s approval and that is truly scary.

Start telling yourself that it is okay to be different. You are not unworthy just because you’re not like everyone else.

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