Clara’s last blog mentioned some of the connections we’re developing with our students, and so I decided to follow up by introducing the scholars who are participating in YAN this year. We’re gathering student profiles from our students, and will soon start posting photos and interviews with individual students so that our readers can start to learn more about the amazing kids that we have the privilege to teach in Buea, Molyko, and Limbe. For the time being, though, we present here some aggregated details about our YAN students. Importantly, this data remains only partially complete—we’ll update it as demographic information for our ninety-three students continues rolling in.
  • Our youngest student is ten, and our oldest is twenty-three (Clara’s age!). Students are in Form Two (the equivalent of about 8th grade) all the way to Upper Six (the equivalent of Freshman year of college in the US); a majority is in forms five and six. Despite heavily recruiting female students, we have ended up with thirty girls and sixty-three boys in our program. This is an area that YAN will continue to improve on in future years.
  • Our students come from every social stratum in the Buea area. Most eat three meals a day, but some more commonly eat two or even one. Some are from wealthy families and have parents that work as police commissioners, school headmasters, and businesspeople; others are from poorer families and have parents who work as petty traders or subsistence farmers. Our wealthiest students report that their families have monthly household incomes of $2,000; our poorest students report monthly household incomes of $24. Our student’s parents also have varying levels of education. Many of our students’ parents have university degrees— not surprisingly, these tend to be the wealthier parents—while other parents ended their own formal education after primary school or their Secondary School “O-Level” exams. That said, a majority of parents’ jobs and incomes place them within the middle class for this area, with incomes around $360 per month and jobs such as traders, technicians, and teachers.
  • Our students’ families range in size substantially. A few of our students come from households with only their parents; but most of our students’ families are significantly larger. The largest families have ten people living in one house, and the average family has six people.
  • Our students have varying experience with computer and Internet use. Some have e-mail addresses, but a large majority has neither e-mail addresses nor substantial experience with computers (this is particularly obvious when we are in class and give students an assignment on computers, and then watch as they struggle with starting Microsoft Word, and then commence to type with one finger). Those who do use computers outside of school use them about two hours a week, and 24% never use computers outside of school (from our limited perspective and from anecdotal evidence we have heard, students rarely if ever get to use computers while in school, meaning that these latter students likely never use computers at all). 
  • Our students are interested in all sorts of classes. The most popular “favorite subject” is biology, followed by Literature and economics. Importantly, almost every single student has aspirations to attend University. Many are interested in staying in the region and attending the University of Buea—a natural choice given its proximity to their homes, and because it is one of two Anglophone universities in Cameroon. Others are interested in attending the Cameroonian Universities of Bamenda or Yaounde; and still others have expressed interest in Universities in Nigeria, Ghana, the United Kingdom, (Oxford and Cambridge are favorites), and the United States (We have heard mentions of Harvard, University of Maryland, and the University of the United States of America—we’ll have to look online to learn more about that last one). The limiting factor, of course, is money; our students readily acknowledge that University attendance will only be possible if their family can pay for it. However, many also wrote that they’ll attend “so long as God wills it.”
So, these are our students in a nutshell. As I mentioned above, we’re excited to post profiles and photos of specific students in the weeks to come; check back in a few weeks to learn even more! To close, we present some as-yet-unseen photos of hard-working YAN’ners earlier this year:

Diana, one of our Limbe rockstars, hard at work:

Shemilove and his partners researching the Arab Spring uprisings:

Jezeh, Vannessa, and Emmanuel deep in concentration at the Lycee Molyko:

During a turn-and-talk, Elysee and Melvin (on the left) and Desmond and Cardine (on the right) seem to have gotten a bit distracted by a photo taken by yours truly:

-Written by Josh