Ave Maria Help for the Needy Association was founded by Lukong Isidore in 2010. Originating in the Bui Division of North Western Cameroon, the Association began with Isidore's vision of supporting children who come from impoverished homes and cannot afford schooling. He began small, appealing to his family and close friends to provide financial support for children who were identified as needing assistance. He developed close relationships with teachers in various schools throughout the neighboring villages who contact him if a hardworking child becomes unable to attend school due to the financial hardships faced by his or her parents. Isidore continues to ask members of the community to provide support for these children and the Association has grown steadily, in membership and beneficiaries.
Isidore received a Master's in Business and International Law at the University of Yaoundé in 2005. He then began work as an activist for Human Rights at the Justice & Peace Commission in his village of Kumbo. Isidore has witnessed the incredible value of education in his own life, and this realization prompted him to found an organization that can help children build a bright future filled with possibilities.
Founder donation recipient Nathalia, on campus in Catholic university of Bamenda
Helen Snyder in Kumbo, Cameroon
Heart of Mary Ministries was founded in 2017 as a sister organization to the Cameroonian NGO 'Ave Maria Help for the Needy' Association.
In 2017, President of the Board, Helen Snyder, worked in Cameroon at a Human Rights office in Kumbo. She developed a close friendship with the founder of the Ave Maria Association, Lukong Isidore, through her work with the Justice & Peace Commission, which has received international recognition for efforts against human trafficking and rights violations. Through this work, Helen witnessed the many injustices that people from impoverished backgrounds experience in Cameroon. Common brutalities include human trafficking, indentured servitude, and gender-based violence. The fight to eradicate these atrocities is facilitated through the education of society's most vulnerable.
Isidore has worked throughout his life to defend human rights through various organizations; this Association strives to educate the vulnerable to empower their communities.