Ride To Learn School of the Month: the Humanitarian Organisation of Mercy

Christina is the Chief Editor for the World By Cycle project’s very own Adventure Learning program, Ride To Learn, but like everyone else on the team, she gets involved in much, much more. She does everything from writing proposals, keeping in touch with program stakeholders, and engaging with social media–to designing activities and corresponding with incredible people like Emmanuel. 

Emmanuel reached out to us recently with a wish to partner “for a positive change in society through our youth and citizens.” He was writing from the Humanitarian Organisation of Mercy (HOM) in the Benin republic of West Africa. 

Christina was intrigued, and eventually became excited about supporting HOM through the Ride To Learn program. After months of communication, Christina now has a clearer picture of some of the challenges associated with the digital divide. Her relationship to HOM and ongoing advice to the World By Cycle team have helped Ride To Learn become a program inclusive of communities that may not have readily available access to internet. 

Emmanuel has registered thirty participants in our program, even though  technology remains a concern for his community: his organization has, after all, only a couple of computers for HOM’s own administrative staff! In addition to offering young people educational resources, the organization also helps them develop professional skills, such as craft skills. Making sandals is a valuable skill that youth in Benin are able to teach and share with other youth in our global classroom. 

Thanks, Christina, for making this relationship work, and thank you, Emmanuel, for reaching out to us and sharing your story. You, HOM, are our feature school/organisation for October. 

Emmanuel has written a blog on the story of his organisation, which he has asked us to share with you. Emmanuel is very excited about the wider global community coming to learn more about the challenges and dreams of his organization and extended community. We hope you find his story as eye-opening as we do. 

My story go like this; Mono, is one of the region of Benin contained thousands of citizens with surrounding communities, villages and town which their main occupation is farming, exchanged trading, local markets for buying and selling and customers from different communities comes to sell their products and foodstuffs once a week.

One day, I journey from the city to those places for my personal research about 40-45 kilometers to observe things with my eye about their culture, sanitary, schools, and drinking waters. Early in the morning around 8:00am before I will wake-up to go round, majority had already joined farm both youth and adults without break until evening even some of them made little mud houses spends night there to continue their activities in the following day. Apparently, I certainly branched to their clinics and hospitals, in fact, equipments were corroded also lack of many tools to conduct treatment for patients in their predicaments. As a results of this, many patients dies in the process of medical treatments even hospital bills are extremely cost to afford. Out of their previous experience, many patients rather stay at home treating themselves with herbs instead of medical treatment to avoid unnecessary bills beyond their strength or capability.  Some of the public waters are stream and rivers side which bacterially contaminated with worms as results of skin infection against their health only few pipe are installed but some of them has damaged without repaired.

In educational aspect, the communities  has few  government and private schools which the children walks about  miles, some half a mile before reach school and the children mentally exhausted before classes begun. When the school close, they as usual walk back to their various houses, by contrive before they study by their own because of tiredness, even some of them join their parents in farm when comes back late in the evening.

Teachers habitually spend their most time in the name of strike because according to the source they are not receiving proper salary and also lack of teaching materials. Therefore in class hours, they will much the children to their various farms etc. But the children are zealous for the school but later they withdraw themselves from the school begin to struggle to seek money to depend on themselves in the name of schools fees, uniform, school materials or in-disposal of the teachers. Also, no professional training and vocational center to be created for the youth to exercise their vision and to encourage them have guarantee of future and as a source of living. Commercial development comes in communities through youths if they are practically engaged in profitable activities.

After departure from my research to my station, I drew the attention of my fellow colleagues shared my experiences with them finally agreed to team up with my vision to form an organization legally to bring development in our communities, schools, clinics, to establish markets centers and to create profitable training centers for the youth. By connecting our organization to many developed organization to partner with us build our communities and environments.  Certainly the organization was formed and legally authorized by our government which named; ”Humanitarian Organisation of Mercy.

H.O.M is actively seeking new computers for their youth education programs. If you or anyone you know are able to assist them in realizing this dream, please let us know! 

You can learn more about H.O.M on their website: http://www.ong-hom.org/

For more information about the Ride To Learn program, visit http://www.ride2learn.org