Alverno professor brings laptops to Cameroon girls

CREATED Jun 9, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee educator is working to empower young African women with technology.  
 
Alverno College professor Jill Newton Moore is leading a small team to Cameroon later this month. They are bringing laptops and a determination to change lives.
 
West African countries traditionally give little support to educating girls. 
 
"I cry everyday when I'm there. It's very emotional,"  Moore told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.  "The job possibilities are very, very limited. So, this is such a huge, huge thing for these young women at the school to be able to have a tool that will really help them realize their potential."
 
Moore previously established a computer lab in Cameroon. On this trip, she is teaming up with Milwaukee-based non-profit Project: Community Computers. The organization refurbishes used, donated laptops for impoverished areas of Milwaukee and the world.
 
"They don't have a wired broadband connection in Cameroon," said Kiefer Stenseng, the organization's creative director. "They receive it by satellite. They have a very slow internet connection there. That's something we want to take a look at. Another thing is transportation. It's over a nine hour drive to get there up the mountains. You have to take 40 computers up there in your luggage on a big, bumpy ride."
 
There has been an enrollment boom at St. Joseph Comprehensive School in Mambu, Bafut. The school is run by the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis. They also operate a medical clinic, rehabilitation center and bush farm. 
 
One laptop goes a long way.
 
"I'm an educator and I'm a mom," Moore said. "It's so important to see young people have an opportunity. Especially, the girls there."
 
The Cameroon Initiative is also raising money to purchase cows, chickens, pigs and goats for the bush farm, which feeds 1,700 people each year.