Where is Cameroon?
Cameroon shares borders with six countries. It is bordered by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
Minawao Camp lies in the extreme north of Cameroon, close to the Nigerian border.
Cameroon is an incredibly diverse place, with over 200 different languages and one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. But when Boko Haram led an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009, Cameroon was affected as violence and displacement spread across the border.
Today the crisis has become more complex, with extreme poverty, underdevelopment and climate change adding to the violence that has forced millions of people from their homes. Millions are in extreme hardship and dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.
Arriving at Minawao Camp
When people arrive at the Cameroonian border, they are picked up and transported to a transit centre where they are given a hot meal, water and a medical screening.
They also have to undergo a series of questions and behavioural checks, as Boko Haram supporters have previously posed as refugees to try and gain access to the camp and its resources.
After 3-4 days, families are then transported to an overcrowded collective centre, where disease and gender based violence are rife. This is where ShelterBox comes in.
By providing tents that are quick to put up, families are able to avoid the threats of the collective centre and start their journey towards recovery sooner.
How are we helping?
Working in partnership with IEDA Relief, we’re helping families in Cameroon who have left their homes due to Boko Haram violence.
Families are unlikely to return home for quite some time, so we’re equipping them with the essentials they need to face a prolonged period away from home.
In Minawao Camp, our tents are allowing families to leave collective centres sooner and start their journey towards recovery. In more rural areas, our white tents can make families a target, so we’re giving families the tools and training they need to build more discreet shelters.
By providing additional items like solar lights, ground sheets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits, we’re improving both the physical and emotional wellbeing of these families who have already been through so much.
A selection of the aid we’re distributing in Cameroon
‘My husband and I were at home entertaining the children, when suddenly we heard gunshots and people started running everywhere. My husband told us to go with a neighbour, then people started quickly leaving the village, especially the women and children, but I could not see him.
‘I was afraid, and the children did not stop crying as we ran. I just followed the others without knowing where we were going.
'That was the last time I saw my husband.
‘My home makes me feel something that I cannot explain. In my shelter I can recover in my own privacy, and I have the feeling of security for all of us. My children also recovered some peace and freedom. They can play and sleep well whenever they want.’
25-year-old Modu is originally from Nigeria. She now lives with her four children in Minawo Camp.
When Boko Haram destroyed her village, Modu fled with her neighbours. In the chaos, she lost her husband and hasn't seen him since. She still lives in the hope that she will one day see him again.
Weeks after fleeing their home, Modu and her children eventually made it to Minawo Camp. Their first days inside the collective centre were not easy - Modu couldn't sleep at night and they were living in incredibly overcrowded conditions.
Modu received a ShelterBox tent, as well as a kitchen set, mosquito nets and other essential items.
'Life has become so much better. I still miss my husband, but I feel highly relieved. We finally have some privacy in our own home.'
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