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The Key To Success is Doing Ordinary Things Extraordinarily Well

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

ARCH serves individuals of all ages who are dealing with orthopedic and neurological problems. Children come to ARCH with paralyzed arms (caused by nerve damage due to childbirth), bow legs, knocked knees, club feet and other congenital conditions. Cerebral palsy is also very common. Adults are treated for conditions such as backaches, strokes, post-accident traumas, burns and more.

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Sr. Leonarda has incorporated what she’s learned about leadership, finances and accountability into her ministry work to better serve the disabled and marginalized.

In Dibanda, in the southwest region of Cameroon, stands the Associated Rehabilitation Center for the Handicapped (ARCH), which provides services to individuals living with orthopedic and neurological problems. For over 30 years, ARCH has provided rehabilitation and training for common conditions like paralyzed arms and cerebral palsy, to bowed legs, knocked knees and clubbed feet, as well as injuries from burns and accidents. The mission of the center is to give rehabilitation to people living with disabilities, from newborns to the elderly.

Rev. Sr. Leonarda Tubuo, a Sister of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of Buea (SST), serves as the Matron of ARCH and is a 2018 alumna of the finance track of ASEC’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program. As administrator, Sr. Leonarda oversees everything at ARCH, from the physiotherapy clinic to the orthopedic workshop where corrective and support devices are fabricated, to the canteen, laundry and cleaning. 

The Challenges of Leadership

One of her biggest challenges can be time management and balancing these responsibilities

The SLDI program provides leadership and technology training to sisters like Sr. Leonarda, allowing them to become better stewards of their time and money.

There is no accountant at ARCH and the center is not sponsored, so Sr. Leonarda is responsible for the budgeting, which was difficult for her before SLDI. After her finance training, she now understands that good budgeting enables a peaceful workplace.

Through her quarterly reports, Sr. Leonarda knows how much income they have and what they can spend.

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ARCH is meeting the needs of people with disabilities in Cameroon. The center is run by an alumna of ASEC's SLDI program. Sr. Leonarda says that the skills she's gained in SLDI have been invaluable in improving her service.

ARCH is meeting the needs of people with disabilities in Cameroon. The center is run by an alumna of ASEC's SLDI program. Sr. Leonarda says that the skills she's gained in SLDI have been invaluable in improving her service.

SLDI Skills Benefit the Community

Sr. Leonarda also learned grant writing through SLDI, which became critical when the war in Cameroon deterred patients from coming to the center. Knowing they needed another source of income, Sr. Leonarda contacted experts to give her a budget for the costs associated with running a farm. She used this to write a request to the Hilton Fund for Sisters and was granted the funding to start and run a sustainable farm consisting of crops like tomatoes, plantains and corn and animals such as pigs, quails and other birds. 

“I was able to cost and run the projects effectively because of all the knowledge I had gathered from my training,” said Sr. Leonarda. 

SLDI Skills Benefit the Congregation

'Sr. Leonarda has also seen how her SLDI training has benefitted her congregation. In their congregational leadership meetings, SLDI alumnae came up with mission and vision statements for the congregation, which now guide their leadership and provide direction. She says her training allows her and her congregation to do “ordinary things extraordinarily well.” She is grateful to be fulfilling the charism of her congregation in all she does: "Love and unity lived in joyful simplicity." 

“This training has helped me to get down the brass tacks of living with people, helping people. Because that’s our charism,” said Sr. Leonarda. “We want to live with people, we want to help them from their standpoint. We want to stand in their shoes and be one with them.”  

ARCH also has a workshop, where skilled workers make orthotics, special shoes and prosthetics for the people who need them.

ARCH also has a workshop, where skilled workers make orthotics, special shoes and prosthetics for the people who need them.

“I’m grateful to ASEC for giving us this training and all the tools we need so that we can be able to merge our [congregation’s] mission and our vision with the mission and vision of wherever we are working. Thank you very much.” -Sr. Leonarda

Using the grant-writing skills she learned in SLDI, ARCH was granted the funding to start and run a sustainable farm consisting of crops like tomatoes, plantains and corn and animals such as pigs, quails and other birds

Using the grant-writing skills she learned in SLDI, ARCH was granted the funding to start and run a sustainable farm consisting of crops like tomatoes, plantains and corn and animals such as pigs, quails and other birds

Virtual Field Trip

In this "Virtual Field Trip" recorded for current SLDI participants, Sr. Leonarda explains her ministry work and how ASEC has improved her time management, budgeting, grant writing and strategic planning skills.

She also discusses other ideas she gleaned from the program, like sustainable farming to support the ARCH center.

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages Reduce inequality within and among countries Sustainable Cities and Communities Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Rev. Sr. Leonarda Ngoin Tubuo, SST

Rev. Sr. Leonarda Ngoin Tubuo, SST
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SLDI Alumna, Finance Track - Cameroon  

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