March 26, 2011
I first became in involved with Aumazo, Inc. through a class project that required us to volunteer with a non-profit organization in October 2010. I was very intrigued with Aumazo’s mission to provide women with an education to empower them so they can in turn better their own situations and stimulate their communities. But what intrigued me more so was founder Jacqueline Audige’s personal connection to the mission. Aumazo was founded in 2005 by Audige who was raised in the village of Bankoji. Like many other girls before her, Audige was forced to drop out of secondary school due to financial pressures that made it difficult for her to purchase the necessary books and materials to complete her education. Knowing how much dropping out upset her father, she promised him she would eventually complete her education. In 2000, Audige was living in the United States taking classes at Montgomery College. She eventually moved on to the University of Maryland College Park and earned both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. When I talked to Mrs. Audige about completing her education, she stated that it was like “traveling to the moon”. Earning her education meant that much to her and wanting to make a difference in other girls’ lives she decided that she would open a school in the village. Although the organization has been up and running since 2005, and the foundation of the school was completed in 2007, the school in Cameroon has yet to be opened due to a lack of funds. However, Audige has found possible ways to complete the building and raise funds. While discussing the project with her neighbor, Mrs. Audige learned about a company that manufactures brick making machines. Investing in a brick machine will help Aumazo finally complete the building of the school, cut costs in half, and also stimulate the village’s economy by providing jobs. There is a possibility that Aumazo may be a school as well as a brick making company in the future. Also, Mrs. Audige was selected to be an audience member in Oprah’s Favorite Things show. This opportunity not only benefits her family but also the organization. In an attempt to raise money Aumazo organized a raffle and raffling off some of the gifts she was given. Not only was this a fun way to raise money, it was also a way to educate the community about the project and a way to broaden the support system around Aumazo. During my duration at Aumazo, I had the task of searching for grants to provide funding for the school. Using the database Grant Station I search through hundreds of organizations who offer grants for education, construction, books, and the empowerment of women and young girls I worked at Aumazo on Tuesdays and Thursdays ranging from 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours. Working at Aumazo has been informative because I learned something new every time I went and I became more aware of the world around me. For example, Mrs. Auidge told me that the main reason girls are forced to drop out of school in Cameroon is due to their menstrual cycle. It shocked me to see the cultural aspects associated with dropping out of school and the fact that in America, it does not hinder one from going to school. Ultimately I believe that this has been an invaluable experience for me as it has forced me to acknowledge that if you really want or believe in something it is often a long process that can take years. Working in a non-profit, or even trying to earn a degree, requires patience and the will to look past all the obstacles to eventually reach the end goal. These are all aspects that Audige and Aumazo embody. Mrs. Audige resilience has been an inspiration not only to me but the community. Audige has been working on this project for 5 years and continues to advocate for the project in spite of all the challenges she has had to face. It is an honor to be able to see her hard work paying off as Aumazo continues to grow and progress. She is an extraordinary woman and I respect her giving and welcoming attitude which made working for her enjoyable. Her knowledge, optimism, worth ethic, and innovation is admirable and traits that I, as a young women, hope to emulate.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
a personal way. From the time that I began working at Aumazo in October 2010 until December 2010. In that time alone, Aumazo gained more community support and acquired more funds.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Aumazo needs more volunteers, hard workers, and innovators. Audige along with her family and Board are currently the only ones working to inform the community, raise funds, and open the school.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
I have learned so much from my short time at Aumazo
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
I felt part of a greater purpose while working at Aumazo
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I helped search for grants.