Board of Directors
MARGARET MBESEHA, PH.D
Founder and CEO
Growing up and spending a greater part of my life in Cameroon, I realized that sometimes, we take a lot of things for granted. In my community, the HIV/AIDS pandemic created an unprecedented crisis for a lot of children whose extended families and local communities were struggling to meet their basic needs of education and good health care. Overwhelmingly, I developed a passion in these vulnerable children. The orphan crisis is worse when some of them are born with disabilities. Consequently, children born with disabilities have extreme disadvantages. They are generally excluded from the larger Cameroon school culture because of no educational provisions for them in the Cameroon school systems.
Ironically, my son has a developmental disability which left him without services in this same Cameroon regular school system in which I taught. Like his peers, his disability posed a lot of challenges to me, his mother, and my family. Because of the lack of these educational provisions, many children with disabilities drop out of school after repeating the same class for several years. The daily lives of these children reveal the true nature of childhood disadvantages, making them very vulnerable. Raising a son in such a school system was a very daunting and frustrating experience for me. The one question that pre-occupied my mind through those years was: “How can I be a teacher and yet be unable to help my own son with his school work, or understand what was going on with him?” Facing the challenges school presented to my son, finally, I had only one answer: “to develop a deeper skill set that would enable me to not only understand each child as an individual, but also enable me to provide high quality instruction through effectively reaching and addressing the broad range of needs which children like my son have.”
This motivated me to go back to college to pursue an advanced degree. After many additional years of training and education, I, now a well-seasoned special educator myself, decided to take services back to the community where my son started without special educational services and where other children who are like him struggle without help. Due to my abiding passion to make a great difference in the lives of these children, I have conceived a chain of educational institutions to provide them equitable and quality education. St. Rita Foundation Nursery and Primary Inclusive School was the first to go operational in 2012. In all, St. Rita’s is my first step of turning my life challenges into opportunities for others.