The total number of villages burned to the ground in western Cameroon has increased to 73! This is a true humanitarian crisis. We are funding two different projects to respond to this suffering – one with Nakinti in Kumba and the other with Etang in the forest villages.
Teenagers and young adults from burned villages are fleeing to Kumba – the closest town out of the jungles – but they have no job skills except agriculture. To get food to eat and shelter from the heavy rains they need to quickly learn new skills or they will succumb to prostitution. Nakinti, who runs the girls’ scholarships we fund, has been organizing job skill training for 100 young women in Kumba.
Those with young children, the elderly, and the disabled who aren’t strong enough to make it out of the jungle are flooding other jungle villages. The desperately poor villages receiving these internally displaced persons (IDPs) can barely feed themselves, let alone care for this large influx. Etang, who runs the agricultural project we fund, is providing emergency food relief, first aid, and job skill training to 100 IDP families.
Etteh Clarisse is an IDP from a village called Bole Bakundu. When soldiers attacked Bole with guns and burned it to the ground, Clarisse and her parents ran in different directions into the bush. After about two weeks in the jungle, without knowing where her mother and siblings were, she followed a group of people trekking to Kumba. There she and other displaced family members are squatting in a one room house in town – about 9 of them sharing one small room. She is one of the young women that joined Nakinti’s job-training project.
Nakinti has organized the young women in her project into small groups, each group learning a different skill. One group is learning “sugar craft” – how to make cakes and pastries. These girls from the sugar craft group are proud of the pastries they made on their own, without the help of their volunteer trainers. In their words, the taste is “heavenly”!