Sporadic violence in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, has had a negative impact on the civilian population. In November 2017, the socio-political crisis progressively translated into insecurity and armed violence. Since then, the escalation of tension and upsurge in hostilities between non-state armed groups and military forces have triggered humanitarian needs across the two regions, linked to significant internal displacement and migration to neighboring Nigeria.
Many who flee struggle to make ends meet. While some depend on their relatives for their daily bread, others have turned to NGOs and religious institutions for support.
Such is the case of these internally displaced women among which are widows, women with disabilities, minority ( Bororo women), in the North West Region, whose smiles, signs of appreciation and satisfaction could be seen at the Winners Chapel premises, while receiving their attestations of training in a three months program on income-generating activities to enable them economically empower themselves. Organized by Madame Ngabir Rita Yenjong Buriya, a young entrepreneur in Bamenda, the participants at the end of each session, are given a startup capital.
With the prevailing situation in the region, many of these women are jobless and homeless, while others who find shelter have to share their privacy with 15 other people in a single room. They sometimes have to go for days without eating. This free training program has helped these women get little food on their table.
According to Senguo Emmanuela, she left her village (Batibo), because of the violent conflict within which many people have lost their lives. She got stranded in the city of Bamenda as she had nothing to do. Things are now better with Madam Rita Buriya who introduced her to the training program which has enabled her to learn the production of coconut oil, detergents, body lotions, and beads necklaces. She sells some of these items that help her feed her family.
Empowering these women in income generating activities and life skills can be a sure way of helping them sustain the life they have at present and in the long run. Miss Siah Colette also from Batibo, lives in a two-room apartment with fifteen other people with whom they left Batibo together because of the ongoing killings.”Joining this program has helped me take care of my family as I no longer have to work to buy food as well as basic necessities such as detergents, soap and body lotions. I will open a shop in Batibo when the crisis is over and I can move back to my home town, for there is no place like home.” Added Collette
Talking about support, so far these women have been receiving material support such as clothes and food from the community as well as from the Now movement humanitarian program of Barrister Akere Muna. The program has given them a training space, chairs and startup capitals.
To Rita Buriya, helping the needy is time-consuming but it’s worth it when you have a vision. “Looking at the need of these women has inspired me to ignore the time I spend training them.” Says Rita
Some of the graduates have volunteered to help in training the next batch which is made up of over forty women and that will go a long way to solve the problem of time.
Many people in the two regions now look forward to the day the crisis will come to an end so things can get back to normal, as they cannot bear the pain it comes with it. The big question is when will it come to end?
Maikem Emmanuela Kimah-Manzie