Our Latest Special Appeal

Our latest Special Appeal 

Ensuring access to education by supporting IDP widows and lone mothers

Since the start of the Anglophone Crisis in 2016, an estimated 841,500 children have been forced out of school in the NW/SW regions of Cameroon.  As the crisis escalated into war, there has been massive displacement of people to the relatively peaceful urban areas of Bamenda, Buea and other cities in the francophone regions.  According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Aid  (August 2021) 52% of these displaced people are women and 44.5% are children (86,472 girls and 95,031 boys).  The IDPs flee their war-torn villages leaving everything behind and, with no means of earning a livelihood, the women have no ability to put their children into school.  Whenever there is any money at all coming into the family, it is spent on rent or food as a priority.  In order to help their families survive, many of the boys take up heavy labouring jobs on building sites and girls look for work as domestic servants or prostitutes.  There has been an alarmingly high rate of Gender Based Violence amongst these children resulting in teenage pregnancy and forced marriages.  Drug addiction and juvenile delinquency has also increased significantly.  Many of the women and children have witnessed horrific war crimes against their families and are severely traumatised.

This year, we have been working with our partner SHUMAS to provide support and training for these women IDPs so that they can earn a living and have a regular income which will allow them to feed their families and send their children to school again.  We have already helped 400 IDP women in four different cities in this way, and most of their children are now back in school (please see their stories in our News items) but there are still many, many more families who need this kind of help.

We are hoping to be able to help another 500 women this year in the cities of Bamenda, Bafoussam, Douala, Yaounde and Bertua.

For just £65  per beneficiary we can ….

provide small business training and start-up materials for Internally Displaced (IDP) women who are now heads of households and need to earn their livelihoods. This funding will also provide both  business support and psycho-social support while they overcome the traumas of the last few years and get established. Books, uniforms and psycho-social support will also be provided for their children as they return to school.  The small businesses chosen by these women mostly involve selling food items and/or making meals to sell on the street.  There is high demand for these services in the urban areas and all the women we have supported so far are enjoying success in their businesses, as well as being able to feed their families and pay their children’s school fees.  They are re-investing some of their profits to expand their businesses and are able to save some money each week.

We would like to help more of these destitute victims of war.   Please help us to help these women and children have a future.

Yvonne’s Story

YvonneYvonne is currently was supported by this project in 2022. She is just 35 years old. She was married at 15 and has 9 children, including triplets and two sets of twins. She had her own business as a seamstress and was able to support her family and send the older children to school, however disaster struck while she was pregnant with the triplets. Her husband left her and took another wife, then her village was burned out during a wartime assault and her house and sewing machines were destroyed. She was left with nothing but a considerable hospital bill for the birth of the triplets by caesarian section.  By the time SHUMAS discovered her situation, Yvonne and her children had all become severely malnourished.  The whole family was suffering from malaria and, in addition, Yvonne also had typhoid and, although she was still trying to feed her babies, her milk had dried up.  SHUMAS staff took the family to a safe place where they treated the malnutrition, malaria and typhoid and ensured everyone had enough food and drink to get back to good health.  SHUMAS also paid Yvonne’s outstanding hospital bill.

Yvonne was given a new sewing machine and material to start her business again. She has received psycho-social support and additional business training as well as joining a women’s business support group. Her 6 older children are now back in school, the family has a new home and Yvonne is starting to rebuild her life.  A special case was made for Yvonne because her needs were so extreme …. but they were still met for just over £100.

Two BSFA trustees met with Yvonne during their visit to Bamenda in 2023.  The whole family is now thriving and the children are growing fast and enjoying being back at school.

Yvonne's family

Yvonne’s family at SHUMAS’ Safe Space

yvonne triplets

Yvonne and triplets back to health

A donation of just £65 can turn around the fortunes of a family whose lives have been blighted by the war.

Please help us to help more women like Yvonne.

Every penny donated to Building Schools for Africa will go directly to this project – we never take any expenses from donations.

Previous successful Special Appeals by our charity.

400 IDP women trained in small business management and given business start-up materials and more than 800 children able to return to school.  £33,805 – target achieved. (2022)

9 Community Schools for over 3000 children displaced from their villages and living in settlements in the forest. £61,500 – target achieved. (2021)

Humanitarian aid and support for 1000 Internally Displaced people who fled to the forests to escape the war. £84,000 – target achieved. (2020-2021)

Humanitarian aid and support for 3050 Internally Displaced people who fled to the bush regions to escape the war. £63,000 – target achieved (2021-2022)

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