Local children are set to benefit from the new school Local children are set to benefit from the new school Local children are set to benefit from the new school (Photo: Peleg Cohen)

Building a better future in Cameroon

Construction of a school in the African country brings hope.

The country of Cameroon, which ranks 133rd in the world in education expenditures, could use a helping hand. So when organizations from abroad offer assistance, residents in the country reach out eagerly to embrace it.

One helping-hand project, entitled 'Rising Education,' is a joint effort between the Berlin and Cameroon-based Hope Foundation and Rising Architecture, a group of students from Technical University Berlin (TU Berlin). The groups are constructing a new school in the city of Bertoua, one of Cameroon's poorest areas. 

TU Berlin, with the logistical aid of the Hope Foundation, has worked with locals in Bertoua through every step of the process, from design to construction, making this a collaborative project with long-term community benefits.

The school will consist of six classrooms and communal learning spaces for 250 students. The rooms will also be used as workshop spaces and technical trainings resources for older members of the community.

The Rising Architecture team hard at workThe Rising Architecture team hard at work (Photo: Peleg Cohen)

Joining Rising Architecture for a three-week stint recently was Peleg Cohen. Nicknamed 'Lonely Peleg' because of his solo adventures, the Israeli has been to more than 108 countries in the past 10 years. Wanting to further enhance the experience by combining his trips with humanitarian work, he began searching for projects. That's how he ended up in Cameroon. 

"A friend of mine from Israel was involved with this project in Berlin to help build a school in the country. I flew there, met with everybody, and said 'OK, that sounds really cool.' I did a little more research and really liked the idea," Peleg told From The Grapevine. "I found everyone there to be so warm and friendly."

Peleg Cohen gets hands-onPeleg Cohen gets hands-on (Photo: Peleg Cohen)

Modani, a furniture company headquartered in Miami, is a patron for Cohen's philanthropic efforts. The partnership developed after the two parties met  last year in the Philippines. 

"They told me they wanted to make donations to charities but they didn't want the money going to the wrong places," Cohen said. "They knew if they gave me the donations they could see where it's going, what it's doing, how it's helping people." Modani footed the bill for Peleg’s trip and contributed a notable sum of money to the Rising Education project.

Cohen lived with Rising Architecture team members and involved himself in all steps of the project, from brick-making to concrete mixing and woodworking. 

While Peleg is no longer on the project (he is currently in South Africa planning his next humanitarian trip), Rising Architecture plans to wrap up construction in September. What they leave behind will be more than a building — it will be a symbol of hope.

Peleg Cohen with villagers who assisted the project. Peleg Cohen with villagers who assisted the project. (Photo: Peleg Cohen)

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