Well we did it! The volunteers in my province and I carried out the Piggy Bank project that I have been coordinating with Tim for the past year! We went to 7 different high schools, in the course of two weeks, and sent the message out to children that saving money is an important value that can make their future brighter!
During the course of each seminar there were roles for the five Peace Corps Volunteers involved. We started each event by handing out 100 numbered tickets to the students, which were taken in exchange for a piggy bank or caisse at the end of each seminar. Dan Lillis served as a wonderful bouncer when organizing the excited students and making sure things never became too chaotic! Once the children were settled into their seats, Tara Smith, an Education Volunteer, would give a brief introduction of Peace Corps and the participating volunteers. Following, Abigail Hyduke and Dan Lillis, both Agro-forestry Volunteers, performed a sketch comparing two students – one who saved and one who didn’t. Tim Hartman, a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer, then analyzed the sketch and pointed out important aspects and described them in depth. He highlighted three important reasons to save: for emergencies, for big purchases, and to follow their dreams. Autumn Brown, another Small Enterprise Development Volunteer, then involved the kids in an activity in which they calculated their necessary and non necessary purchases, showing them that saving little by little works out to a lot in just a few years. The kids were always very excited when giving real-life examples of saving money. We encouraged the continuation of this energy when Tara Smith would teach them The Savings Song, a beat used from a popular Cameroonian song which the lyrics were modified to motivate the children to save. We collaboratively created and performed a dance to go along with the song, an illustration of putting coins into piggy banks (see the video on youtube!). Watching five Americans sing and dance was a great way to end the seminar. We were hoping that this song would remind and encourage the kids to save, and when leaving the school after the seminar, we would often times hear the kids singing the song and dancing along with their piggy banks… this is when we knew that the project was successful.
THANK YOU to all those who contributed- for believing in the project, in our work, and in the children that are the future of Cameroon.
Get a closer look at the project from videos that are soon to come at www.youtube.com under the username of Mlle.Tara.Smith.