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PCC student uses class to give back to small Cameroon village
Photos and Story by James Hill
The amount of money may not seem like a lot, but for Isaac Sunday’s village back home in Cameroon, it meant the world.
Sunday, 26, procured a $3,450 grant from the Ndong Awing Cultural and Development Associationthrough his summer grant-writing class at the Rock Creek Campus to fund 50 benches, six-month salaries for four teachers and a table for a school back home in his village of Awing in the Northwest region of Cameroon. The Hillsboro resident submitted the proposal in early August and finished the donation of furniture and money transfer by mid-September.
The microelectronics student worked long distance to hire carpenters in Awing and surrounding villages to make the furniture, and coordinate the donation with school and village officials. He traveled back to Cameroon in late August to oversee the final stages of the project and returned just before the start of fall term.
“I know that some of the basic necessities a new school always needs are school benches,” Sunday said. “In many occasions students don’t have benches to sit on when a new school is started. I come from a rural community where education is far behind. So I was thinking I wanted to see what part I can play to help these people who need education.”
The idea came about in Craig Buchner’s Technical Writing course in the summer, which prompted students to write a grant proposal for one of his major assignments. Buchner requires his students to research grants and apply for them based on their proposals. For Sunday, the class was a requirement for his microelectronics degree, but he didn’t just do the bare minimum, he made the class experience count.
“When I teach that course, my goal is to make each assignment as pragmatic as possible, hoping that students use them in their day-to-day lives,” said Buchner, who teaches grant, fiction and technical/professional writing. “When Isaac decided to submit his grant to help build a school in his hometown, I was thrilled. We looked over a few drafts of the grant, and from the start it was clear that this topic was important to him, which showed in his writing.
“I assigned this project halfway through the summer term and before the session was over, Isaac had heard back from the grant committee, so it was great for our class to see the results,” he added. “I think his success inspired everyone, myself included.”
Sunday came to the United States back in 2009, achieving a longstanding dream of immigrating to a developed nation so he could gain skills to help people back home. He earned a civil engineering degree in Cameroon, but had to start over when he got to Oregon on an Immigrant Visa.
At PCC’s Rock Creek Campus, Sunday took beginning classes and advisers steered him into the Microelectronics Technology Program to match up with the job he found at Tuality Healthcare in Hillsboro as a diagnostic imaging file clerk.
“I just found my way, moving so slowly,” said Sunday. “I never knew anything about PCC, but I was really devoted to education. PCC is a very, very good place for me. It is very flexible. Classes are offered around the clock. The campus is so open and I meet good people.”
His desire to aid education back in Cameroon comes from his large family. One of 11 kids, many of his siblings don’t have the access to education he had and cannot read or write. On top of helping his family, he wants to help his village in other ways by some day partnering with Intel Corporation or SolarWorld AG.
“I want to try to help the local community there with some solar panels to provide electricity,” he said. “I am open to any kind of means to help these people in the rural areas in Cameroon and other Africa countries.
“I feel like whatever comes my way I will be success as long as I’m devoted to it and if I keep on working as hard as I am I will always survive,” he said.