Joseph Zingui

Ashoka Fellow
Yaounde, Cameroon
Fellow Since 1995

Citation

This profile was prepared when Joseph Zingui was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Joseph Zingui believes that every child is entitled to and must receive "family love." He extends his concept of family to include not only the traditional idea of nuclear and extended members but also to the greater community as a significant part of the child's family life system. In other words, the entire community should and can ensure that each and every child is provided with basic physical and emotional care.
Joseph and his wife, Marie Magdoline, have purposefully created a model program that places family love as the central element in a comprehensive set of services for disadvantaged children. These services include an interim residential program in a homelike setting at their center; counseling and training in income generation for families at risk of falling apart; a foster family program; a nursery school; vocational skills training and work internships; and micro-credit provision.
Joseph knows that for social services for disadvantaged children to reflect family love as a primary service goal there will have to be a very high degree of volunteer community involvement. Accordingly, Joseph built his model center deliberately over a ten-year period with an almost total reliance on local community support. "We should not ask foreigners to support our children," he says, "and we cannot blame them if their support comes with conditions." His local fundraising success is rooted in an appeal to people's sense of responsibility for their community life and is sustained by the quality of experience that his program provides for the many volunteers and contributors.Having refined and proven his approach, Joseph is now ready to spread it throughout Cameroon and beyond.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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