The Starfish Project helping Africa

Anne and Joe by Lake

Treatment for stammering (stuttering) consisting of administering cuts to the patient's mouth with the help of a razor blade and rubbing elephant dung into the cuts was one of various methods available to sufferers described by 36 year old Joseph Lukong, in an e-mail sent from his home in the Central African country of Cameroon. Joseph made his emailed appeal, to see if there was any thing that could be done to help the stammerers of The Cameroon, to the Sussex based Starfish Project.

The Starfish Project has enabled hundreds of young men and women like Joseph to fulfil their dreams and speak without stammering. Joseph had read about the ground-breaking approach of The Starfish Project's technique developed by, Anne Blight, which is working for hundreds of recovering stammerers in the UK and around the world, but remains relatively unrecognized in an area which is itself shrouded in mystery, fear and unawareness.

Very little or no attention is given to stammering as a public health care problem in Cameroon. Joseph himself comes from a family where 17 members stammer and so he started a self-help group for his family. This group grew into The SCAC 'Speak Clear Association Of Cameroon. SCAC are the second African association for stutterers (after South Africa) to be admitted to ISA -The International Stuttering Association.

Anne Blight knew that the only way that training could be successful was on a one-to-one basis, but unfortunately her busy schedule of training courses meant it would be impossible for her to go to Africa. She suggested that Joseph should come to the U.K. be trained and return to help train his own people in the Starfish technique.

Joe in the BSA garden So a special Trust fund was established and for many months recovering stammerers in the U.K., who had been on The Starfish course, helped raise funds to cover the expense of Josephs airline ticket and accommodation costs by organizing dances, raffles and running sponsored in The London marathon.

Anne, Joseph and the staff of The British Stammering Association

On July the 22nd 2002 Joseph arrived at Heathrow airport to start training with the Starfish Project in Hailsham, East Sussex. Anne was there to meet him and after a whirlwind trip to London to meet the officers of the British Stammering Association, talk to the press and briefly see some of Londons landmarks, training started.

After his training to control his stammering, Joseph returned, equipped with stocks of manuals, videos and teaching aids to help the many stammerers of a poor African nation to gain the same control over the stammer that is currently controlling them.Everyone at The Starfish Project will be supporting and following the progress of Joseph and the SCAC mission, to teach the Starfish technique to the stammerers of the Cameroon.

Please click on the links below to read more about the Starfish Project Cameroon initiative:

Of interest we have reproduced below the high ideals of SCAC that we support

VISION : For a world that understands stuttering

  • Support to persons whose lives have been afffected by stuttering
  • Put stutterers in contact to therapists both local and international
  • Promote the people's awareness on stuttering
  • Collaborate with interested persons or associations to better the situation of stutterers
VALUES : Total empowerment of stutterers
MEMBERSHIP : open to stutterers, recovered or recovering stutterers Parents of minor stuttering children Spouses of stuttering members Medical practioners involve in stuttering therapy