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For the last three months, Jervis Lyonga has been commuting to Bishop Rogan College, an all-boys school in Cameroon, to volunteer teach the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC). 

“The trip is only fifteen minutes,” he says modestly, before eventually admitting that “the roads are not the best, given the security challenges . . . and the rainy season . . . but if you’re lucky enough to get a taxi . . .” He typically leaves his home around 8am to be on time for his 11am class.

Jervis sits quietly in front of a wall of books. He’s a student himself, pursuing his master’s degree in conflict resolution, international law and human rights. His country is in a state of unrest, with violent clashes between separatists and the Cameroonian security forces. 


Before leaving for Christmas break, the students received their HDC graduation certificates in a closing ceremony in the school auditorium, attended by teachers and parents. If class scheduling permits, the hope is that in the new year, the juniors at Bishop Rogan College will start HDC next. 

“People think that human dignity is the same as human rights. But it isn’t. Human dignity is the basis for human rights,” says Jervis. And so, the Human Dignity Curriculum helps students learn something about themselves. As for his personal experience, “I’ve learned a lot,” he says. “All of this has changed my scope. And I think for me, my field of studies is not unrelated—it has helped me a lot in terms of my personal development.” 

For Jervis and his students, that development is well worth the three-hour commute and extra class.

Clare Halpine is the Director of the Human Dignity Curriculum—a project of the World Youth Alliance.

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