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  • Theodore Kanjo, Open Dreams Scholar

Lending a supporting hand to the Internally Displaced Persons in Bamenda

My country has drastically turned into the badlands, not because of the absence of rain or climate change, but because of the greediness of mankind. There has been a crisis for about three years counting, which has led to the displacement of families from their homes and has also resulted to many casualties. The people who are highly affect are the innocent once who are merely trying to put food on the table. Through the funds obtained from the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program my team (three MasterCard Scholars - Peace Nyaba, Reynald Liyeuk and myself) set out to help these displaced families with the little we could come up with even though it could not compare with the tremendous losses.

Open Dreams Scholar, Peace Nyaba has some comforting words for the seriously affected people

This initiative is known as the Community Action Project (CAP for short), which is a project that every MasterCard Foundation Scholar under ALA must complete at the end of the his/her first year. We decided to join forces to reach affected people and alleviate the suffering.

This project was carried out in two phases. I conducted the second phase of the project. Open Dreams and the Community Initiative for Sustainable Development played vital roles in providing us with information about affected families. Our goal was to reach out to 140 families who had been displaced from their homes due to this raging civil war. We identified food as the need that these families yearned for and struggled each day to have. We bought all the items in bulk and divided them to reach our estimated target. Each family member was to go home with 12.5 kilogram of rice, 1 litter of cooking oil, 2 cubes of soap and a pack of Maggi. I collaborated with the other scholars to complete the first phase of project which they already started to reach out to 40 families. We distributed theses items in a local neighborhood in Mile 8 Mankon - Bamenda called Befut, a place which was highly affected with homes burned down and people left homeless.

With the help of an elder who provided the space to house our project, we distributed the items but were interrupted at some point by the belligerent forces. We negotiated and came to a settlement which was us leaving. The elders distributed the remainder of the food items in our absence. With the help of Open Dreams scholars in buying, dividing and transporting the food items for the second phase of the project, I took the project to another highly affect locality, Bambui together with the scholars who volunteered.

Open Dreams Scholar, Edmond Nfor smiles as the distribution process starts off

The Bambui Water Authority gave us a safe haven to carryout the distribution without nuisance. Here, we reached out to 10 families using the same quantity as before as necessary arrangements were made prior to our arrival, with the families already waiting for us. We talked with the families and it was disheartening to learn that some of these families already gave up on life and only gave in to what it had to offer because they had lost so much, from loved ones to homes. All we could do at that moment was to give them the little we brought.

Though, it was not enough to sustain them for a long time, our intention was to rekindle the fire of hope in them and help them get back on their feet.

We care

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