This Lent we are sharing stories from around the world celebrating the women in our lives who have inspired us.
Today five staff from our local partner CDVTA in Cameroon share their stories of women that have inspired them in the communities where they work. CDVTA has been an All We Can partner since 2004 and its work focuses on improving the quality of life of marginalised elderly people through setting up support groups, advocacy and training.
Ceraphine Fombuwir (68) is a widowed subsistence farmer who lives with her six children and three grandchildren in the village of Mbokam, where she serves as volunteer for the Mbokam Old People’s Group. Ceraphine, to me, is an inspiration, because of her dedicated service to the elderly. Despite her age, she is sacrificing her time, energy and know-how in order to promote the wellbeing of other adults around her. She, like over 259 other unpaid volunteers, form a strong backbone for CDVTA’s integrated elderly social care and rights advocacy programme. You don’t need to have much in order to share with others; you just have to do what you can, in the ways that you can, in order to bring the contribution that you can so that people can become the best that they can be! – Emmanuel Tangumonkem, Head of Programmes, CDVTA.
Eveline Vidzem (53) lives with her husband, her five children and her three grandchildren in Sop, a small community in Jakiri Sub Division. She provides for her family by engaging in farming. Elected as Vice-President of the Bongbati-Sop Centre Elderly People’s Group, she exhibits extraordinary energy for her age in her ability to manage the group, run her home and her farm with great success. I respect and look up to her as an example. Thanks to All We Can and CDVTA, the elderly are gaining much more respect and their value is increasing within the community. – Dwight Atanga, Monitoring and Evaluation Supervisor, CDVTA.
Secunda Mbel was born in 1939 in Yang village in Njinikom Sub Division. She studied until Standard Five. She took the second position in her class during the promotion exam into Standard Six. Unfortunately, she became sick and only returned to school during the second term of the following academic year and was disqualified and asked to repeat Standard Five. Discouraged, she dropped out of school and obtained a job in a convent to cater for the orphans in the Njinikom Roman Catholic Orphanage.
When CDVTA began work in Njinikom in 2010, Secunda was the pioneer member of the Yang Older People’s Group. Elected as group volunteer, she has remained active ever since. What is striking about her is despite her limited edication she has a love for good English, which she promotes in her group. She has actively participated in all the conventions that CDVTA has organised for the elderly in the North West Region of Cameroon. It is through her efforts that the Yang Older People’s group has remained active. – Francis Nkwain, Field Facilitator, CDVTA.
Nawain Ita Nain of Aloayon Older People’s group in Boyo II Project Area, who became blind 15 years ago due to old age, has been an active member of the group since 2011. Aged 83 years old, Nawain is a great dancer of the famous royal dance in Kom called Fumbang. Although she is blind, she initiated the dance in her group, and they now use it to welcome guests. The unique way she dances has fetched much admiration for her group and has motivated more members to join the group. She is a widow with four surviving children, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, who are also engaged in community work. – Othnel Tohmukum, Field Facilitator, CDVTA.
Hadjo Awudu a widow, aged 76, is a member of the CDVTA Hausa Older People’s group in Bamessing. She has been a group member since 2010. She is of the Hausa ethnic group. She inspires me because with her CDVTA has been able to overcome stereotypes within this group of people. Usually, the Hausa people, especially the women, scarcely associate with other local people or engage in any form of farming or income generating activity. Her presence as a member of a CDVTA elderly group is therefore particularly striking to me. From my discussions with her, her involvement with CDVTA elderly people’s groups has had a positive influence in her life. She now makes meaningful contribution to her welfare, and the welfare and education of her ten grand children who live with her. She also attends group meetings and goes to other project areas during elderly conventions. She has developed the courage to talk in public. To me, her case is an encouragement to other Hausa and minority women who, traditionally, would not move into the public arena. – Mbacham Bridget, Network Advocacy Manager, CDVTA.