H.D. Stafford Middle School teacher Djiba Camara is not letting his battle with cancer push away his dream to help young people in his impoverished home country of Guinea, West Africa.
“God willing, I would like to go there and bring them much-needed supplies. The people of Guinea need hope, they need help. I want to help,” said Camara.
Camara has been off work since last year battling liver cancer. He misses his students every day, he said.
Even while he battles cancer he remains committed to helping the people of Guinea.
So much so, that he recently sold his townhouse to help fund a container to ship all the supplies.
Now Camara is asking for help to raise the $25,000 needed to ship the full container. The $25,000 covers the cost of shipping and clearing customs.
“He understands that this may be the last time for him to personally visit Guinea,” said his friend and colleague at Stafford school, Roland Calderon, who set up a GoFundme page for Camara. “Please help him fulfill his dream.”
Last week, his church in Coquitlam held a garage sale with all proceeds going towards Camara’s dream to help the people of Conakry.
“The garage sale went really well,” said Camara.
Camara has never forgotten how many great opportunities he has been given in life and that’s why he wants to pay it forward.
When Camara was young he moved from one of the most impoverished countries in the world to become a university soccer player in Europe.
From there, he moved to Canada and got to coach the women’s Whitecap’s team. He got his teaching degree and became a well-liked educator at H.D. Stafford middle school.
But he has never forgotten the needs of his home country.
More than five years ago, he made a return trip to see his mother and to bring soccer equipment to children there.
What he saw — poverty, poor living conditions, a lack of transportation and poor nutrition, juxtaposed with eager young people looking for hope — motivated him to try to make a difference there.
He found support from the Langley Teachers Association and presented his ideas to the school board, held fundraisers, garage sales and collected donations of bikes, computers, clothing, sporting equipment, books and more and has sent two shipping containers. He met each container in Africa and despite risking his own safety, he managed to get the goods to the right people.
He continues to fight his cancer using alternative treatments, a positive attitude and support from friends and family.
But the need to help Guinea remains high on his list of to-do’s.
Camara is grateful for all the individuals, parents and students from Stafford, the Langley Teachers’ Association, Langley School Foundation and Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship who have donated goods to Guinea. He’s hoping Langley residents will help out again.
To help, go to www.gofundme.com/camaraguinea.