"Developing Talents isn’t just a noble objective, it is absolutely essential across all levels of society and in every single individual society. After all, we all form part of the same global community. This is why ISW supports both local as well as international projects.”
ISW supports FONDS ACHILLES VZW, a non-profit organisation, which offers less well-off students from Ghent and the surrounding area’s pluralistic education with financial support. Achilles is therefore helping underprivileged talents in our own country.
ISW also supports a Talent Development Project in Cameroon in West Africa, entitled Gic Banjou.
Nico Burssens met Jean Georges Mouliom in 2008. Georges told Nico all about the school project in his
native village of Banjou, a Foumbot district, located in West Cameroon’s Grasslands. He studied in Brussels and was also looking for funds for the school project by selling ritual objects and masks.
The construction of the first school, La Maternelle, had already commenced at that time. Nico Burssens managed to enthuse a number of Ghent investors about the project and the fundraising soon reached cruising speed. The first school was completed in 2008. The construction of the second school commenced in 2009, which first opened its doors in 2011 with 150 students, plenty of pre-schoolers and an incomplete primary school cycle.
The school boasted more than 200 students and a complete primary school cycle by 2012. The school also included two classes for English speaking students, as Banjou is close to the linguistic border. The school teaches in both French and English. There were more than 300 students by 2013. The school is expecting 500 students for the next academic year, which means more classrooms will need to be built. Plans are also in place to eventually introduce vocational training courses after the primary school cycle.
The school offers secular education. The region is mixed Muslim (the majority) and Christian, primarily Protestants. The school is not concerned with the families’ religious choices and respects everyone’s individual beliefs. This way of working allows for a complete focus on everyone’s Talents!