The close to seven years old anglophone conflict has dealt a severe blow on education in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.
Thousands of children whose parents have no means to escape and settle in safer cities witnessed their education ending abruptly. These are mostly children in remote localities where the armed conflict is more intense.
Some of these youths have become parents. But this is not the case with Achang Winifred, a 16-year-old girl from Kom-Boyo Division of the North West region who has bounced back to school after her father succeeded to send her to Douala.
At 16, she was supposed to be in lower sixth but due to the conflict , she could not go to secondary after finishing primary school. However, she expressed great joy to be part of the back to school train in Douala, as she entered Form 1 at the Atalanta Bilingual Comprehensive High School in Bonaberi.
“I have not been in school for five good years because of the struggle going on. It was very difficult for us. Some of my mates are now mothers. Some girls cannot even speak good English. They don’t know anything.” Winifred said.
Winifred revealed that the constant attacks on schools, teachers, students and pupils shattered and delayed their dreams.
“I had big dreams like to go to school, travel out of the country, work and take care of my parents. But I could not do so because of the crisis that paralyzed schools. I had to stay at home.” Winifred added.
Another internally displaced learner, 17 years old now in Form 2 instead of being in Uppersixth said he ran away from gunshots in Wei village in Boyo Division to pursue his studies in Douala.
“Because of the conflict I have not been going to school for three years. For the past three years I decided to go to a garage a spent my time there, hoping one day I will have this opportunity to continue my education. While in the village, each time we go to school they will be shooting, forcing us to run out of the school compound. Even the quarters they will be shooting, pushing us to run to safer places. ” He said.
As most schools remain shutdown in the North West and South West regions , particularly in remote localities getting to seven years now, these IDPs have joined their voices to those of many Cameroonians to implore authorities to take frank and appropriate actions to end the crisis once and for all so that their mates still out of school or stranded in frustration in Anglophone Cameroon continue with the fundament right to education.
Source: Cameroon News Agency