Remarks by Ambassador Peter Henry Barlerin (as prepared for delivery)
Inauguration Ceremony of Borehole at the National Center for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities
Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 10:55 a.m.
Dr. Alexandre Manga,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to attend this ceremony today, which marks the completion of the construction of a borehole for the Cardinal Paul Emile Leger National Center for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities.
I would like to begin by recognizing the chief of the political and economic section of the Embassy, Ms. Jenny Bah; our newly appointed head of the grants program, Ms. Laura Miller, and our grants administrator Ms. Rachelle Ngum. Thank you for coming out with me today.
This borehole was funded by the American people, through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help program.
The Special Self-Help program is based on a grassroots assistance model that allows us to respond quickly to local requests for small, community-based development initiatives that improve economic and social conditions at a very local level.
The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon has offered self-help grants for more than three decades, funding over 105 projects throughout the country.
Selected through a rigorous process, the Center received an award of approximately five million francs to bring this project to reality.
A borehole like this one might seem simple or small.
But when you consider that millions of people, including children, die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, you will agree with me that – while it might seem small – it is absolutely essential.
Access to water is a basic human right. And, clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.
Dr. Manga, I would like to acknowledge your unrelenting commitment to the center, for your initiative to propose this project and, even more impressive, for completing it within four months.
When I heard we would be attending this ceremony today, I read a bit about Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger, for whom the center is named.
Considering Cardinal Léger’s unique story of giving up his position in the Catholic Church in Canada and devoting himself to children with polio and various other causes here in Cameroon, it is only fitting that the current director of the center would follow Cardinal Léger’s lead and continue to find ways to positively impact this community.
You and your team represent the example of exactly why we have an Ambassador’s Special Self-Help program.
All we ask in return is for you to ensure that this borehole is well maintained and remains accessible to the targeted community.
To the students here today and all those who attend the school within this center, each and every one of you has equal potential for a bright future.
Every person has something unique to contribute to our society.
So, I encourage you to remain positive in the face of adversity and focus on your strengths so that you can reach your full potential.
Thank you very much for having us here today and keep up the good work.