My Journey

Emily Miki
Posted December 11, 2015 from Cameroon

My name is Emilia Epeti Miki and I am the second of three children to my parents. I am from Cameroon and grew up in the town of Limbe. My father a bar-tender and my mother an under-wear seller(bras and pants) did every thing possible to send us to the best schools. My father died when I was 13 (form 3) and my mum has been paralysed since then. Coming from a poor family I had to start doing holiday jobs and started a small melon seed business (egusi) for my younger sister with 300FCFA, apply for scholarships for us to be able to go to school, feed and cater for the hospital bills of my mum. My community members were of great support through their cash donations and food.

Right now after going through school to the masters level and starting up my NGO Denis Miki Foundation, I have as main challenge the fact that I don't have a place to stay, no funds to run the NGO, no working materials like computer, internet and also working with a daughter of one year four months.

After researching and observing my community I have realised that women in my community are not digitally empowered so have not yet being able to find their potentials or develop them. To change this situation we have drawn up, technological, educational and economic empowerment projects like the DMF Tech Center, DMF Library and the DMF Poultry Farm. Though we don't have funs to run the projects, I decided to go for partnership with other organisations for networking purposes and also be able to raise funs both nationally and internationally. Using online communities for running such campaigns have not been very successful since most of them do not offer services in Cameroon yet for instance Google Non-Profit does not work with Cameroon NGOs, Change.org does not offer advertising services in Cameroon, Paypal does not pay to Cameroon; just to name a few.

At the moment no one is supporting my actions and I am barely managing from my little cash I earn from my little jobs here and there. And for me to continue successfully the first resources I need is a laptop or computer with internet (since my lack of this is was what hindered me from registering for the Intro to Digital Empowerment Training and has made me so unactive on World Pulse until I had to loss my Welcomer and Listener badges), funds to execute my projects and partnerships with other organisations for visibility, networking and exchange of know-how.

Comments 9

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Paul Frank
Dec 11, 2015
Dec 11, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story Ms. Emilia Miki.  I admire your courage and strength.  I wish I was as strong as you.  

It sounds to me like the first thing you need is some cash flow, not just for your NGO but for yourself and your daughter.  I do not have very limited cash but I do have some experience starting a small business.  I am hoping to write some short article for World Pulse which may help.  I will share a few ideas here now.

The best advice I ever got on starting a small business was from a business professor.  He said businesses solve people's problems.  A successful business solves people's big problems.  Talk to your neighbors and people you know in the community and ask what are the problems in their life.  Maybe an ideal place to ask is local businesses.  Every business owner has problems that he takes to bed and wakes up with.  If you can identify such a problem that you can solve they will pay you to solve it.  And in the best case if you identify a creative solution you will still have plenty of time to work on the other things important to you.  Reading your story above a big problem in Cameroon is getting money and services into the country.  Solving this problem could not only be a source of income for yourself but could also help many other worthy people with needs in Cameroon.

This may be of no use to you.  I understand that and that is OK.  If there is any practical problem you want to share ideas about -- in business or with anything else -- I will be happy to do the best I can.  I am sure many others here would be happy to help also.

Emily Miki
Dec 12, 2015
Dec 12, 2015

Hi Paul, thanks for the wonderful advice. I recently took that step and started doing online publicity on my blog. Your contribution has just added me a new point to take off on. I will try to increase my impact by targetting the immediate needs of those in my community as you've said.

And also about the inability to get most International services into the country, I haven't given up. I still forward my request for those services and though some replies haven't been favourable I will still keep pushing.

Thanks for the encouragement and I will do well to stay in touch on areas where I face difficulties.

Tan Ching
Dec 16, 2015
Dec 16, 2015

Please do not ever give up or be discouraged.....Can still start all over again. You are still young.  I think I went through similar struggles as you since I had to support myself mostly on my own for my tertiary education.  I have to be honest to admit that it isn't an easy path for me really.  Even in my adulthood, my divorce and other negative life experiences along the way....I guess my life wasn't so smooth-sailing but as compared to people  who are living in war-torn countries and/or Third World countries, I am still relatively much better. But if I compare myself to the other extreme end with fortunate people who are born in rich families or have had a much better life experience all along, I guess I am then in a much worse off state.

Emily Miki
Jan 09, 2016
Jan 09, 2016

Hi PohChing, Thanks for taking out the time to respond to my life story. About our shared situations, no great man ever made great success without challenges. That should keep us going and also there isn't any better support than from the Most High, so like me dear sister hold tight unto Him for He will certainly bring you to the expected end and in the moment of celebration you wouldn't even remember the hard times. Best wishes sis Emily

Mary Morgan
Dec 17, 2015
Dec 17, 2015

I would firstly just like to applaud you to honor how far you have already come.

The things that you have accomplished in your life have not been easy, but you never gave up. 

It is hard to succeed professionally when your community does not yet have the tools to support the work you would like to be performing. I can really relate to that. 

I'm glad you had a chance to log in to WorldPulse again and share where you are coming from and update us. 

I have had struggles before trying to provide enough money for myself in life and share in this journey with you in that way.

Carolyn Seaman
Dec 18, 2015
Dec 18, 2015

Dear Emily,

Let me start by saying that you are a beautiful young woman with a lovely smile. And your baby is such an adorable bundle of joy I imagine.

Wow! you have shared such a deep and personal experience that has taken us all through your journey. You have a remarkable story of resilience and your experience must be an encouragement to many young women across Africa who can relate to your experiences. 

I would also suggest that you focus on a workable plan to cater, first, for yourself and your baby and then you can develop a plan to reach out to your community through your Foundations' programmes. I imagine the challenges you may be experiencing getting a good job, despite having a Masters degree. However, you may consider targeting some volunteer positions in International or even local organizations where you can build your expertise and leverage on your access to a computer and internet to also expand your digital literacy and program development for your Foundation.

With regards to your Foundation start-up, you can get creative with your programming, staffing, fundraising etc. For example, identify other passionate youths like you and build their capacity to support you to start off simple, achievable projects in your community. And then take pictures and prepare good reports for any project you undertake - they will be helpful when you are fundraising to show prospective funders what you have done on your own.

A World Pulse sister shared some very useful ideas with me when I was also anxious about funding for my nonprofit organisation. Please, check out the post on the Economic Empowerment Group and I hope it starts you out on some creative ideas to fundraising for your organisation. And if you need any virtual volunteers to support your efforts, the U.N.'s online volunteer portal could be a helpful place to post your opportunities and get some help for your efforts.

I hope you find some help in some way to support the great work you plan to do in your community. And I hope that you are able to better access the internet to continue to share your voice on this great platform.

Once again, thank you for sharing your story.

Ariel
Dec 21, 2015
Dec 21, 2015

Dear Emily,

Thank you for sharing your story about growing up and the struggles that you had to go through to ensure education for yourself and support for your family. It really is a shame that a lot of the organiztions you listed don't have services in Cameroon. I hope this changes soon so that you are able to get support! I work for a non-profit here in the U.S. and used to work for an international health company that did TB work in South Africa. We gave out small grants through a USAID project and I would encourage you to check out what programs USAID is supporting for 2016. You might be able to find a small grants program that will help you get your business off the ground!

I also find that with my current non-profit, raising money is all about expanding your network. Maybe you can find events to go to where you can meet people that will connect you to other people that have the capacity to help. You clearly already have fantastic networking skills since you are on WP and have worked through different online channels to share your story and what your needs are for your NGO . I wish you the best of luck and hope you never give up!

Sincerely,

Ariel

Kika Katchunga
Feb 02, 2016
Feb 02, 2016

Thank you for the story I am sorry for what you have happen to you in life; no parent chose to die and leave her helpless child but we never know what life holds for us; I love your courage and struggle for change in your community .I wish you good luck in all you made

Courage Emily

Kika Katchunga
Feb 02, 2016
Feb 02, 2016

It's great I encourage you all my support