Fellow Since 1996
Association Emmanuel du Cameroon
This profile was prepared when Samuel Ngnitedem was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Samuel Ngnitedem's first response to the shock of discovering the phenomenon of street children in 1990 was to evangelize widely about child welfare and to try to care for the needs of individual children that he met. He soon found, however, that this ad hoc, if genuine, response was insufficient to uproot the problem. His next step was to study the lives and needs of street children and then begin to devise and implement ways of delivering effective and humane services that could also serve to retrain the social work profession in light of the special circumstances of street children. The power and innovativeness in Samuel's work lie in the fact that he was the first person in Cameroon to recognize that the special needs of street children were completely ignored by the existing human service providers and, through the organization he established, to demonstrate and promote an effective and extremely well-designed alternative service delivery model. Samuel believes that all citizens must understand and respond to street children. Accordingly, he is a tireless public educator about displaced children, and Association Emmanuel is based in voluntary citizen support.