Because of the efforts of the College of Charleston Enactus team, 15 women in Cameroon will be able to support their families and send their children to school.

The organization’s Kick it Forward project sent five students to Cameroon during spring break, and they returned March 10. They presented the project at a regional Enactus competition in Charlotte and will go to the national competition in Kansas City, Mo., on May 21-23.

Enactus is an international nonprofit organization that uses business and entrepreneurship to help others. The College of Charleston chapter participates in several service projects, with its Kick it Forward biennial trip to Cameroon being the biggest one. There are 48 active members in the chapter.

Business students Sarah Cielinski, Ashleigh Fields, Ali Nardacci, Michelle Smith and Carolyn Upchurch were led by adviser Dr. David Desplaces, a professor of entrepreneurship studies, on the spring break trip to Cameroon. The group gave out micro-finance loans to women and held a business plan competition. They also visited several schools to donate supplies.

The students said the women will use the money to purchase agricultural supplies such as fertilizer to start growing produce for the new season. Because of the loans, many of the women will be able to send their children to school and not have to rely on them to work.

“Each season, there are new things to buy and production costs,” said Upchurch, who led the micro-finance effort.

The students also collected 1,500 educational care packages and 3,000 notebooks to pass out to students.

At the March 20 regional competition, the students presented their work in Cameroon to a panel of judges, several of them employees of major corporations. Nine out of 24 regional teams were selected to advance to the national competition, where they will compete against 124 teams from all over the world.

Read the blog from Enactus’ Kick it Forward trip to Cameroon at

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or