Ok here is some *good* news. And its about Africa, but no, not Democracy 3, it’s about that school Positech is funding in Cameroon. I just got an email from the charity handling it, and more details are to come soon, but the school is 95% finished, they have had an opening ceremony, it was in the local paper, on radio even on local TV. I’m looking forward to seeing snippets of all that soon, but in the meantime, I have two pictures that have been sent from the agonizingly slow internet connection in Cameroon. First, here are the children about to sing the national anthem in front of the old school… (old school at back on the right)…
And here is the representative of the charity being photographed in front of the shiny shiny new modern school, that we funded. Yay :D
This is so awesome. My first response when seeing the pics was, wow, thats a lot of children, but when you think it has 3 classrooms, I guess thats probably right, they don’t have tiny class sizes out there anyway, so its to be expected, but its still kind of amazing to think you can boost the education of so many people when you are just some middle aged dude typing in his home-office. It’s not like I had to put on a benefit concert or spend years knocking on doors. And the new school looks BIG and really cool.
I can totally understand why people who do stuff like this want to fly out there and strut about in the school. Its 100% natural. I would love to see it, love to actually be there, and be able to understand in that basic primitive way that I have really helped to do this, by touching the walls and seeing the children in lessons. That temptation is huge, but I fight it because 1) I try not to fly too much and 2) shouldn’t that potential air-fare money go to better use?
Maybe one day I’ll give in and do it anyway :D
Expect another post when I have video and more photos! For those curious about this click the ‘schools’ category on this blog post to see earlier posts about the school, where it is, what it cost etc.
Soo…if you read this blog a lot you may remember that positech is funding a school being built in Cameroon. I’ve just got an update on progress that I thought I’d share. I love hearing about this, I am so proud of it.
Anyway…originally we had one site for the school, but for various reasons that then shifted to a different site called Salle. To give you an idea of where this is, lets look at it in google earth:
So..yeah, not exactly urban. This is a great place to do something like this, because they just are not going to make an economic case for a country with Cameroons GDP to pay for a decent school there. Anyway…zooming out a bit…
So…it’s there. Progress on the school actually seems pretty darned good, although progress in camera phone quality in Cameroon seems to be less good :D Here are the pics:
So we have walls! Proper ones, made of brick, rather than wood, and built properly by proper builders, meaning this school is going to be a LOT better than the small wooden construction they had before. The timeline shows that plastering and flooring should be done this week painting by the end of the month, and the handover to the community by early November.
When its all finished the school will provide:
The previous school enrollment dropped from 72 to 52 children over a year, almost certainly due to the condition of the building, so this should fix that, and I suspect boost overall enrollment a lot, plus there should be a big boost to the children’s health from the improvement in the facilities.
I should get much better pics in a few months, as a representative from the charity is going there to take a look.
For anyone wondering, doing this costs roughly £18,000.
Oh crumbs, a picture of me smiling. Thats ruined my carefully constructed angry online persona. Pretend I just kicked someone and am laughing at their pain.
Thats the cheeky sign we will have stuck in the office of the school we are building in Cameroon. More details go here. basically Positech games is building a school in Africa because we are such wonderful people. Not a fan of weird pictures of cliff smiling? Hmm. heres a picture of me by my house instead.
Ha ha! Not really. My house has a different shaped roof. Plus thats where they film downton abbey, which weirdly is not filmed in my house.
Don’t worry, I’ll blog about games soon. Big Pharma is coming out soon. OH YES.
I tweeted about this, but here are more details. Basically, Positech has had some pretty successful years, and we thought it would be cool to make a decent charitable donation and ‘do something good’ in the world. I’ve always been a fan of the idea of sending charity where its needed, dispassionately, rather than supporting a charity because an issue has directly affected you, or its local to you. I’m sure the nearest school to me would welcome a charitable donation, but regardless how ‘struggling’ such a school would be, it will have a proper floor, walls, windows, running water, and chairs for people to sit on. Not so everywhere.
Which brings me to the charity ‘Building Schools for Africa‘. I found them by googling, frankly, and after some digging and investigating, decided they were ideal. What I like about it, is that you don’t just send ‘some money’ into a general pot. You can actually pay for a whole school, the whole shebang, and its like ‘your’ project. In this case, the local community supply some manual labour, and I think they bake the bricks, and all the design, carpentry, construction and technical stuff gets paid for by the sponsor. In this case Me/Positech.
The school in question will be in the village of Mbalengue in the East Region of Cameroon. The current school illustrates exactly how much they need a decent one:
The village has 250 people, (the school will also cater to two nearby villages), and has no clean water and no electricity. To quote the report on the current school: “5 benches in the school. Children sit five per bench and it still not enough, others sit on sticks”. The ‘blackboard’ is just a bit of wood they draw on.
What appeals to me about this sort of project is that your money goes really, really far. The plan is for this school to have 3 new classrooms, an office , 3 tables, 27 benches, drinking water, and a proper toilet. The contrast between what they will have, and their current school is massive. And doing this cost notably less than my last car. This will, to quote the study again “Promote and provide basic education to an anticipated population of 150 poor peasant Students, thus enabling the Students and their families a brighter and more equitable future.”
Thats something I can say ‘I did’. I’m extremely proud of the game design of Democracy 3, and the graphics engine of Gratuitous Space Battles 2. I’m also proud I taught quite a few people their first steps on the guitar when I was younger, but lets be honest its all just trivia compared to helping 150 kids education. And thats 150 at any one time. This school will be around for ages.
Finished schools look more like this: (From their website)
Anyway…it will take ages to get the school built, but the charity already blogged about it, so I think its fine to at least announce it now. Eventually I’ll get pictures of the school under construction and I’ll share those here too. I’ve never been to Africa, let alone Cameroon, and as I don’t fly much, I probably never will, so seeing pictures & video will be as close as I get. I’m definitely going to frame a picture of the finished school on my office wall though.
Anyway, I don’t want to come over all ‘I do a lot of work for charity mate, but I don’t like to talk about it‘. I’m blogging it mostly because if people in a similar position to me are considering something similar, I thought it would be helpful to post about my own experience. Building a school like this costs about £18k. I’ve no idea if you get any tax benefits for doing so, YMMV.