Maimouna becomes emotional in one of the refugee camps Garisingo in east Cameroon as she recalls the horrific journey she took from Central African Republic (CAR) to Cameroon in 2014 following an ethnic conflict.
She struggles to describe exactly what she saw and experienced in those last few days and weeks in CAR.
Maimouna has a family of 9. At home, she made a decent living with her husband buying and selling animals. It put a roof over her head and provided her family with three meals a day.
All that changed 5 years ago, when violence in CAR reached her community.
Running for their lives
Maimouna and thousands of other Central Africans were running for their lives. Their houses damaged, livelihoods collapsed and schools shut leaving them no option to cross over and take refuge in another country for safety.
We would not like to go back to CAR until UNHCR ensure there is peace and safety for us.
Maimouna has a big heart. Along with her own family, she fled with 9 other children left orphaned or disabled by the impact of conflict. The group moved without food and with minimal belongings. They walked for days, nights and months covering hundreds of kilometres through inexplicable challenges until at last they managed to cross the border and take shelter in neighbouring Cameroon.
This family is among the 267,813 refugees from CAR now living in the east region of Cameroon.
Supporting children and families with urgent cash transfers
To support children and families affected by crisis and conflict, we’re supporting 6,825 households just like Maimouna’s with cash transfers. Without this support they would struggle to eat.
Payments are made by Plan International, supported by the World Food Programme, and amount to roughly $12 per person, per month. A total of 34,722 beneficiaries are being reached through this programme.
With this cash support, Maimouna manages food for her children and 18 extended family members. This cash is a lifeline for girls and women who are often affected most by emergencies. It helps keep them safe from danger as they no longer have to leave the camp to buy food.
Choice, dignity and security
Maimouna’s eyes light up momentarily as she says:
“Now it is much better. We are more secure… it gives us choice and dignity to select our own food items.”
“We would not like to go back to CAR until UNHCR ensure there is peace and safety for us. If nothing will disturb us, we would like to stay here.”
Cash and voucher assistance (CVA) is becoming one of the preferred methods of responding to emergencies in Cameroon and CAR. Plan International has reached close to 2 million beneficiaries over the last 5 years, supporting children and families with roughly $75 Million USD.
“CVA is efficient and effective,” states Plan International Cameroon Country Director, Miriam Castaneda.
“Plan International Cameroon has developed a strategy to reach more vulnerable girls and boys in need, and with the availability of additional funds, the implementation of the strategy will reach even further.”