Many IDPs like Brenda Ache and Tita Bless have dark pages about the ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, but are ready to step into another page.
After five days running in the bush, Ache found her way to Yaoundé. A tribe’s man helped her and her sisters, then, her sick father later joined them and life has not been easy.
Tita’s situation is not different as he has been surviving by washing plates, guarding houses and doing other menial jobs.
But, Hope and Rehabilitation Organization, HaRO is striving transform the lives of IDPs by training them on income generating activities and entrepreneurship.
One of the trainees, Evelyne Saah drilled the IDPs on pastries, fish pie, meat pie, Korean donuts, cakes and icing.
“We are going to take those interested for follow up”, she stated.
“My passion is to train people to be able to make money on their own, have a side hustle, given the financial difficulties in Cameroon”, she added.
“Learn to make use of the skills learnt, put them into practice”, she advised the trainees.
Ache, Tita and about 30 other IDPs can now boost of skills to step into making pastries, soaps and oils.
“I can now be an entrepreneur on my own, she said after five-day training.
“With the skills, I can also help myself, my sisters and employ some people to work with me”, Ache visibly elated added.
Ache, for five days learnt many things that are important for her life, production of bathing soap, powder and liquid soaps, glass cleaners, hair oil and body lotion and pastries.
Like Ache, Bless Awa says he wished he had this opportunity to learn long ago.
“I already have plans to start up a small business”, Tita said.
HARO organized the training to take away some IDPs from the streets as most of them go into illegal means to earn a living, like prostitution.
Besides, the humanitarian organization was training within the premise that when IDPs learn income generation activities like pastries, they can market them and earn a living for themselves.
“We give food and they still go and come back, so we thought of something sustainable, this training”, HARO National Coordinator, Frtz Kwa Mendi said.
“You can be trained on income generating activities but if you don’t master the skills of entrepreneurship you will not be productive,”, he stressed.
“We have funders who have told the IDPs they would assist with finances after the training, all they need is to produce a sample, that will be a motivation that they are learning and willing to practice. Most of them will receive financial assistance” he said.
The trainees are given coaches to follow them up in the course of their production, they can call in case of difficulties and the coach will tell them what to do. When the coaches have contracts they go along with the trainees.
“We are training Cameroonians who can fend for themselves without depending on the state, as we have to accept the fact that Cameroon is suffering from high unemployment”, he maintained.
Dr Lilian Ngwna, HaRO Executive Director used the opportunity to share re-useable sanitary pads to IDPs who most often do not have the money to offer themselves the luxury of sanitary pads during menstruation.
It should be noted that HaRO was recently awarded the Sub-regional Prize for Humanitarian Excellence 2021 for their assistance the vulnerable people in society.