Cameroon: NW, SW Crisis - Foundation Launched to Assist War Widows

Deserted English speaking town of Buea (file photo).

The Jumbam Family Foundation this year is assisting 17 widows from the two regions with 5.5 million FCFA to enable them rebuild their lives.

Some 18 women widowed by the war in the North West and South West Regions last year received 10 million FCFA to start small businesses and engage in livestock farming. The support was offered by Jumbam Rebecca Seh, who on March 28, 2020 lost her husband, Ngek Constantine Jumbam, in the crisis. Building on last year's success, Jumbam Rebecca from April 24-25, 2021 in Yaounde again gathered 17 war widows from the North West and South Regions.

After offering them trauma healing counseling and small business orientation, some 5.5 million FCFA was distributed to the women to enable them begin to fend for themselves and their orphans. The occasion also saw the launch of the Jumbam Family Foundation, JFF, which seeks to cater for women who have lost their husbands in the war.

"At least 70 per cent of the widows we supported last year have succeeded in their little businesses and livestock farming activities. Each of them received assistance ranging from 200,000 FCFA to 400,000 FCFA. Our appeal is for people to partner with us to assist more widow victims of the war. I believe that if you put a smile on someone's face, you also will smile because smile is contagious," Jumbam Rebecca said.

"After last year's assistance programme, many widows have been calling to also seek support, while donations have come from well-wishers within Cameroon and abroad. My family also raised some money, which has enabled us to set up and launch the Jumbam Family Foundation," Rebecca explained. She added that the foundation in future plans to assist war widows to take care of the schooling and health of their orphans.

Also present at last weekend's JFF launch were some beneficiaries of last year's assistance. Akem Adelle 27, (not her real name), from Manyu Division in the South West Region, recounted how her husband and his two brothers were killed on July 8, 2019. But thanks to the 280,000 FCFA support from JFF, Adelle moved to Mamfe and started a second hand clothing business.

She now buys basic household items in Nigeria and resells in Mamfe. Thereby enabling her to take care of herself and daughter. "I am so grateful for the assistance from Jumbam Family Foundation. Without it, my daughter will not be in school today, and I will not be able to fend for myself. I will like to augment my income by selling iced water. Drinking water is very scarce in Mamfe because of the absence of electricity," Adelle says.

Cynthia Waingeh, 29 (not her real name), is a war widow from Boyo Division in the North West Region. She lost her husband on April 23, 2019 and barely a year on, Cynthia's first child of 8 had stroke. But there was no one to help Cynthia to treat her. "The trauma healing counselling I got from the Jumbam Family Foundation in Yaounde in August 2020 helped a lot. It enabled me to be strong and to focus on the welfare of my three orphans. The assistance of 300,000 FCFA enabled me to start poultry and pig farming, and also treat my daughter," Cynthia recalled with a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, her poultry was later cleared by thieves and she now focuses on pig farming. Her two sows recently farrowed 15 piglets. "The Jumbam Family Foundation has sown a seed in my life. My prayer is that I will also be able to assist other widows in difficult situations like I was. There are many young girls doing nothing in the village. When I share Christ with them, I should be able to meet some of their financial and material needs so that they do not engage in prostitution," Cynthia explains. Her wish is to complement her pig farming business by also running a grinding mill.

More From: Cameroon Tribune

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