WHAT IS OKALA?
The Okala Foundation is a Canadian based non-profit charitable organization that is dedicated to the ideal of education being the key to a better future.
WHAT DOES MY SPONSORSHIP MONEY COVER?
The cost of sponsorship provides your child’s schoolbooks for the entire school year, a hot lunch each school day, and a mosquito net to protect them from disease. It also helps cover the cost of medical attention that a child may require, as well as transporting medical supplied and learning materials to Cameroon once a year before the school season begins.
HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR OKALA, EITHER AT HOME OR IN CAMEROON?
Okala will have various immediate needs depending on the current situation and time. If you wish to volunteer your time and try to assist us from home by spreading the word about us to your friends, how you can raise funds in your hometown or donate items needed, please contact Shannon Foy in the ‘Contact Information’ section of this site for further info on what is needed at this time.
Volunteer positions are very limited each year and are also dependent on any experience or qualifications you have that would be beneficial while in Cameroon such as teaching, agriculture/farming, medical training, etc. If you are interested in travelling to Cameroon as a volunteer, please contact Shannon Foy for further info.
CAN I CORRESPOND WITH MY SPONSOR CHILD?
We very much encourage sponsors to contact and correspond with their sponsor child by way of letter or postcard that can be sent to the post office box in Cameroon listed on this site under “Contact Information”.
WHAT KIND OF UPDATES DO I GET WITH REGARDS TO MY SPONSORED CHILD?
Sponsorship through Okala provides you with close contact to your sponsor child and keeps you updated throughout the year. You are provided a picture of your child, report card updates, quarterly newsletters, and personal messages from the board should there be any issues pertaining specifically to your child; all of which is done via email to keep costs as minimal as possible. As well, any member of the board is available to you at any time to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
CAN I SEND MONEY TO MY SPONSOR CHILD’S FAMILY?
No. Okala’s main objective is to ensure that the children receive an education, proper nutrition and any needed medical attention. However our secondary objective is to work towards the villagers learning and maintaining self-sufficiency. If the villagers become dependent on the charity of others, we will never be able to succeed in this goal.
WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DO THE PARENTS OR GUARDIANS HAVE WITH THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION? DO THE PARENTS PAY ANYTHING TOWARDS TUITION?
The parents pay the school tuition fees for their child to attend. Okala puts great emphasis on the parents taking responsibility and participating in their child’s education as much as possible within their means.
How can $90 cover the costs of a child’s needs for the entire year when other organizationS ask for A minimum OF $30 monthly?
Okala Foundation operates on a volunteer basis. All Canadian board members volunteer their time. We do employ four Cameroonian staff members consisting of one cook in each village and of course Turbo, whom without him none of the work would be possible. Approximately 4% which is about $3.60 of the $90 goes towards these salaries. This money promotes employment in the village, where there previously was none.
Because we sponsor an entire school, the food money is put into a common pot. If we had sponsored one child in one school, the $90 would not cover the cost but because we have approximately 100 children in one school, the money is put together and we are able to feed them all.
Okala believes in allowing people to choose where their money is spent. If you want to donate a bit more towards a clinic, or building a school or a well for clean water, we leave that up to you. This approach has worked very well as we have managed to build two new schools through the generous donations of our sponsors.
What are the children’s lunches?
The children eat peanut sauce and rice. The sauce is made with peanuts, fish, tomato sauce, and a few other ingredients. It is almost the equivalent to peanut butter sandwiches in its nutritional value. We also give the children red kidney beans once a week to ensure they receive plenty of protein. This meal is vital to the children as they are fed individual portions and ensured a certain amount of calories every day. Within the Cameroonian household in the villages, the traditional way of eating is from a common pot. It is usually the father that will eat first, then the mother and lastly the children. This is based on the founder’s personal observations within the villages.
Do sponsors from outside of Canada RECEIVE a tax receipt?
Currently, Okala is only registered as a charity in Canada and although you can request a receipt if you’re from another country, it cannot be used.
Can I sponsor the same child from grade school to high school?
We encourage bonds between the child and the sponsor, and therefore try our best to nurture that relationship. However, sometimes a child’s family may move from the village due to divorce, employment, or marriage. In these circumstances we will write you to explain the situation and offer to transfer your sponsorship to another child. We always work in the same villages and therefore you help stays in the area.
Why is the sponsorship cost higher for High School Students?
The cost of sponsoring a high school student is higher because the books are more expensive as they are hard cover text books.
February 16th Join us at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert, for an international buffet created by local and international Chefs. Live auction, lots of beautiful items up for bid. An inspired live music performance with an Okala flavour by some of Rupert's talented youth, a night to remember. Tickets are $50 per person, contact Willy Beaudry.