Foreword from the Founder
Dear Interested Reader,
Dr Akuma D Saningong, MSc (TUM)
Founder, President and CEO of KAC e. V.
Despite all the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are either militarily powerful or even economically prosperous. It is those who have the least who really suffer the most. They are the ones who have a commitment to try and make the world a better place. But as long as injustice and inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest. We must become stronger still. We – the members of the Kamerun4AfrikaClub (KAC) e. V. and our well wishers – will endeavour to support those people and do our best for humanity.
It is our utmost wish that our quest can help all activists around the world to shine their candle of hope for the forgotten prisoners of poverty. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome and eradicate it by their actions. Poverty is like a punishment for a crime you didn't commit. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
Everyone everywhere has the right to live with dignity; free from fear and oppression, free from hunger and thirst, and free to express themselves and associate at will. Yet in this new century, millions of people remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times - times in which the world also boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation - that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom. Kamerun4AfrikaClub e.V. is right to stand up against the rights violations that drive and deepen poverty.
People living in poverty have the least access to power to shape policies - to shape their future. But they have the right to a voice. They must not be made to sit in silence as "development" happens around them, at their expense. True development is impossible without the participation of those concerned.
It is for us to support courage where there is fear, to foster agreement where there is conflict and to inspire hope where there is despair. In addition, it is our duty to bring light to some of the darkness that afflict our world and new energies to areas where others have become wearied.
We have also seen in Africa the scourge of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - the unholy trinity - decimating the lives of people, especially those living in poverty. All of us - rich and poor, governments, companies and individuals - share the responsibility to ensure everyone has access to information, means of prevention and treatment. And our starting point must be respect for individuals’ rights and human dignity. We know that it is the already marginalised who are most affected by HIV/AIDS. And we know that within this group, women are marginalised yet more and bear the most significant burden.
At the moment, discrimination and violence exacerbate their lack of access to the very tools they need to make their own rights a reality. If girls do not have a safe and non-discriminatory environment to pursue education or gain employment, the consequences reverberate throughout their lives. Denying them the choice and freedoms we take for granted. Women and girls living in abusive relationships, for example, are unable to flee the violence because they are financially dependent on their abusers.
In the African tradition and in the spirit of "Ubuntu" – it is in that profound sense that we are only humans through the humanity of other human beings. We should all use our collective experience and individual wisdom, our moral courage and the ability to rise above the parochial concerns of nations and its people – race, tribalism, sexual orientation, gender and creed. In this venture, we should try to be a personification of "Ubuntu". It is a universal truth, that way of life which underpins the concept of an open society. We all cherish the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which we hope to live for and to achieve.
What we also seek to accomplish is to see an environment where young people have a real chance to develop the inherent possibilities they have to create a better life for themselves… That is what development is about." With respectfulness, helpfulness, sharing, community, caring, trust and unselfishness, we - as citizens of the world - can make our planet a more peaceful and equitable to place to live.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama”
If all ambassadors of conscience around the world believe this, and act on this, and get others to believe, we will have our turning point. This we’d achieve, when we become strong in purpose, resolute in will and steadfast in action.
We understand it still that the road to make poverty become history will not be easy. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves. Let us make poverty history. Then we can all stand with our heads held high.
May we all bow down our heads now in prayers!
Oh Lord may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy site.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labours rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when the poor and oppressed will not be asked to get in back, when the handicap and the underprivileged can stick around, when the disadvantaged will be mellow, when the voiceless can get ahead, and when all will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen!
Dr Akuma Saningong, MSc (TUM)
PS! Portions of this write-up were adapted from Nelson Mandela's speech on the occassion of his "Ambassador of Conscience" award from Amnesty International.