RESPECT gives hope to refugee women and children in Cameroon
This year has been busy for RESPECT Cameroon. Damien Eloundou, RESPECT Cameroon Coordinator, and his team, used International Women's Day on March 8, 2011, as an opportunity to examine the situation of refugee women within the organization's community.
Around 30 women and a few men took part in an "educational chat" aimed at refugee teen girls and the mothers of children involved in the RESPECT International Letter Exchange Program.
Single and teen refugee mothers are particularly vulnerable in Cameroon. They often arrive without any money, and are professionally disadvantaged. Many struggle to find employment, or to get temporary jobs with poor salary. With their family, they only survive thanks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Participants' attendance at the forum was made possible by RESPECT Cameroon's volunteer contributions which included the payment of transportation costs.
A variety of issues were addressed including gender equality, HIV/AIDS, refugee women and vocational training. While participants identified possible income-earning projects such as dressmaking, which can then be sold in the markets, it was recognized the women needed help to get such projects off the ground, both financially and in terms of childcare. RESPECT Cameroon is now working with the refugee women to help achieve these goals.
RESPECT Cameroon has also been working to get refugee women into a training and job-readiness program through the Mandilaris Training Centre, which has resulted in free tuition for six young refugee women. RESPECT gives hope