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USDA McGovern-Dole School Meals Program Kicks off at Islamic School

The US flag and the Cameroonian flag flapped in the wind. Children, who a few years ago were forgotten dregs of the Cameroonian backwoods, susceptible to all manner of negative influences, danced and sang in unison with shining eyes, for the representatives of their government and a program sponsored by the US government and implemented by a US based NGO, Nascent Solutions. In IPS Njombo these Muslim pupils proffered in song the religious greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum”(peace be unto you) to the US government and the kind-hearted and American people who brought them food and nourishment when they were hungry and forgotten.

Cameroonian Christian, Animist and Muslim communities have peacefully coexisted for decades and centuries. But in Africa today, poverty and desperation are playing a significant part in fraying and breaking traditional bonds of peace and acceptance. With Boko Haram, the radical pseudo-Islamist terrorist group wreaking havoc in neighboring Nigeria and beginning to make cross border raids and recruitment attempts in Cameroon, it is more crucial than ever, to embrace these marginalized children, and offer them a safe place and shelter away from dark and destructive forces. What better sanctuary than a classroom?

Programs like MGD/ALIGN are investments in global peace, security and stability. Distinctions of faith, ethnicity or class were wholly absent everywhere for the launching of this initiative as children from various schools mingled, and priests and imams and local chiefs came together to support a hopeful future for all children.