On Friday, October 7th, 2016, the Queen of the Rosary college, Okoyong ex-students held a press conference in Akwa Douala as part of the celebration marking 60 years of that college under the theme “UNLEASHING THE GIRL POWER”
Queen of the Rosary College (QRC), Okoyong – Mamfe, is the first girl’s secondary school in Cameroon. It was created by Catholic reverend sisters and since its creation in 1956, it has been an edifice of academic and moral excellence and it is today’s reputed college as the cradle of girl child education in Cameroon. The college is located in the village of Okoyong, four miles from the town of Mamfe. The school gives Cameroonians girls quality integral education for responsible womanhood.
The first steps towards its creation started as far back as 1951 born from an idea by Peter Rogan who saw the necessity in creating a girls school, a request that was however only granted in 1955 by the Cameroon government.
It took another year and the arrival of the Holy Rosary Sisters from Enugu Nigeria for the school to open its doors on April 28th, 1956 and for effective classes to begin on May 4th with 26 enrolled students and Rev. Sr. Catherine Kelly (then Mother Aquinas) as the Pioneer Principal. It started as a comprehensive school where, in addition to a few secondary school subjects, the girls also studied religion, typing, shorthand, music, cookery, needlework and house Craft, some of which still features in the school curriculum today.
In 1961, the pioneer students took the West African School Certificate of Education (WASCE) and passed with flying colors, a result that truly reflected in the quality of women that forms part of its outstanding alumni such as:
Professor Rose Gana Fomban LEKE, chair of the Board of Directors of the National Medical Research Institute, IMPM awarded the Nkwame Nkrumah African Union prize for the Best Female Researcher in Africa.
PROFESSOR THERESA TCHOMBE SHALO, a retired Emeritus Professor, former Dean of the Faculty of Education and currently Honorary Dean, UNESCO Chair for Special Needs Education at the University of Buea.
Professor Nalova Lyonga, Vice-chancellor of the university of Buea
CHIEF JUSTICE Florence Arrey elected Vice President for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal and Justice of the Court of Appeal for ten years.
Daphne, music star, trail blazer and recent winner of the Afrimma Awards and many other women who are a true reflection of girl power.
The college is currently run by the Diocese of Mamfe, led by Bishop Andrew Nkea, who took over from Bishop Francis Teke Lysinge and Bishop Pius Suh Awa of blessed memory.
QRC boasts of 4 large dormitories with modern toilets attached, a refectory accommodating all students as well as a spacious assembly hall and beautiful chapel for worship. There are also science, domestic science and needle work laboratories, a library, a sick bay for first aid and light illnesses, and staff quarters.
In December 2016, QRC Okoyong will celebrate 60 years of existence under the theme, 60 Years Unleashing Girl Power.
This celebration is aimed at raising awareness on the contributions of QRC towards education for the girl child, encourage more girls to believe in their potentials and achieve their dreams and also to raise funds for the college’s key infrastructural and pedagogic development projects. During this anniversary, QRC seeks to use this event to transmit four key messages as follows:
• As the first girls’ college in Cameroon, QRC inspired the revolution towards giving girls/women a voice via an effective post-primary education;
• Today many girls are/women are challenging stereotypes and living their full potentials;
• So girls/women should take advantage of the already created power so far.
Thus the anniversary will be a forum to raise awareness of the successes made so far in the struggle for girl child empowerment across the world – a fundamental reason for the creation of this college. This message will be channelled via a social media campaign dubbed: #UnleashYourGirlPower.
“Unleash Your Girl Power” Campaign
The #UnleashYourGirlPower campaign leverages on the deep insight that powerful and motivating language gives women a stronger sense of self-worth and inspire them to strive for more in life. The campaign recognises the importance to fuel the powerful words of women everywhere so their conversations reach, affect and inspire as many girls as possible. It builds on the increasing number of women accessing many roles previously considered men only like politics, engineering, science and technology, medicines, business leadership, military etc.
The campaign uses a short film (to be released), web images and the #UnleashYourGirlPower hashtag to push across powerful positive messages on what women have been able to do today via global efforts. Some of which include: • Many girls have become amazingly footballers #unleashyourgirlpower • Many girls have been excellent engineers, #unleashyourgirlpower • Many girls have been super politicians, #unleashyourgirlpower
And many others to help women break the chain of fear and the voices telling them they cannot be more than the “weaker sex”
The campaign will run on social media from October to December 2016 and will be brought to life by several fields and social media activities.
By Vicky Fokala
BaretaNews Correspondence, Douala, Cameroon