Monday, March 24, 2014

Christelle Bay: Helping the Needy, though ‘in Need’

(NewsWatch Cameroon)-Bob Geldof, singer and campaigner once said “life is best experienced helping others… And that’s the other definition of development”. Going by this singer’s philosophy, Christelle Bay Nfor, Executive Director of the Bamenda-based humanitarian organization, Hope for the Needy Association, HOFNA, is a development icon. By creating HOFNA as a way of responding to some of the needs people, especially in communities which are underprivileged face on a day-to-day basis, Christelle Bay did not only want to experience life, but contribute to development.
Christelle Bay Nfor

In many communities in Cameroon, needy people do not have an open medium to express their needs or lack the required support since it does not suffice to express a need; needs must be addressed otherwise people will lose hope.   HOFNA according to the Executive Director was thus created as a medium for these ‘hopeless’ to express their worries. Accompanying rural women and needy children through support has been her line of action in fostering the empowerment of the poor as well as building a better future for all. It is also this art of reaching out to the needy that has catapulted Christelle Bay Nfor in various communities in the North West Region of Cameroon. What makes her dissimilar from others is that she does uncommon things in a very common manner. Yet it has not been a bed of roses for Christelle as she has been faced with many…
Martin Luther King Jr. opined that “Life's persistent and most urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'. Christelle Bay Nfor has understood this and has dedicated herself to serve others rather than to be served, despite the challenges. HOFNA has reached out to over 500 primary schools pupils in the North West Region through the support of didactic materials. In her move to encourage communities realize their worth through the education of the girl child, HOFNA has offered scores of scholarships to young intelligent girls in the region. The most recent was the scholarship she offered to one brilliant girl at CS Ngwanri in Nkambe Central.
“If you express a need, the only thing that can make you think that something will be done about it is hope. That is why you see it is not just about a need, but it is also about hope for the needy”, says Christelle Bay. However, doing something about the needs of the underprivileged has been very challenging. Thankfully, Christelle is married to the most dynamic and loving president of the Cameroon Cooperative Credit Union League (CamCCUL), Musa Shey Nfor who is her first source of hope in challenging situations. In a society like Cameroon where all philanthropic activities usually have a hidden political agenda, Christelle Bay is not interested in politics and has no ambitions in that domain: “The hidden agenda is that we have to cater for the needs of the needy. If that is hidden, then that is our hidden agenda”. She believes like Sir Francis Bacon that “the desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel nor man come in danger by it”. As a Christian, Christelle Bay Nfor agrees with Henry Ward Beecher that “Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven”. Thus her charity which observers say is almost on the same wavelength with that of the First Lady, Chantal Biya through her humanitarian organization, CERAC, is not only preparing her way to heaven, but also giving her satisfaction on earth. This suggests she understands Rabbi Harold Kushner’s philosophy that “Being kind to others is a way of being good to yourself”. As a matter of fact, she has been and is putting HOFNA Cameroon on the ladders of the trusted NGOs that Cameroon needs to achieve the Vision 2035. Thus, HOFNA is not just about…
Meeting Immediate Needs
HOFNA according to the Executive Director is not just about meeting immediate needs. “It is about needs that are sustainable; once you start training people especially by cultivating and inculcating in them the aspects that you can get them to share with each other, you end up building a society that cares about its own needs and those of others”.
Though she reaches out to the needy, Christelle Bay Nfor does not have much as she herself is ‘in need’. Yet she believes in the Biblical quotation of Acts 20: 35 that “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. Like Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle who believes that “ if you cannot share a fanta with a friend, then you can never share whisky”, the Executive Director of HOFNA holds that you must not wait to have much before sharing with others.
Many may know her, yet this reporter believes in J. Oswald Sander’s statement that “Eyes that look are common, Eyes that see are rare”. Many people may have therefore looked at the soft-spoken philanthropist, but few have perceived her as…
A Heroine  
As Cameroonian women celebrated the 29th International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014, this reporter recalled the words of the celebrated former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela who said,  “I have been asked this question many a time: ‘who is your hero?’ I reply: ‘My hero does not depend on the position a person occupies. My heroes are those simple men and women who have committed themselves to fighting poverty wherever that is to be found in the world”. Going by these words of the celebrated Late Madiba, Christelle Bay is a heroine. She is a woman of extraordinary qualities and abilities. Her educational background coupled with her devotion to be perfect has made her to transform the principle of education for work into the principle of education through work. Her public persona has attracted admiration from young girls and some women not just from the Northwest region but all over Cameroon and beyond. Her work has also attracted admiration from the press that has awarded her many awards including The Eye Newspaper Award of Excellence, awarded to her organization as “Best Child Result-Oriented NGO” in Cameroon for the year 2012.
This Article was also Published in NewsWatch Newspaper N°007

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