Niger was facing five major crises when we worked there. Find out how we responded.
Just 40 miles east of the Nigerian border lies Minawao camp – a dusty, sprawling refugee camp in the extreme north of Cameroon.
It is officially home to around 75,000 refugees, but families in the camps say that the number is much higher. Families have come here from Nigeria after escaping Boko Haram.
They might have escaped the attacks, but their loved ones have been killed, their homes have been torched and their livelihoods lost.
We have also provided shelter to families outside of the camp, who have been forced from their homes due to Boko Haram violence, climatic changes or economic pressures.
Minawao Camp lies in the extreme north of Cameroon, close to the Nigerian border.
Cameroon is an incredibly diverse place, with over 200 different languages and one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. But when Boko Haram led an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009, Cameroon was affected as violence and displacement spread across the border.
Today the crisis has become more complex, with extreme poverty, underdevelopment and climate change adding to the violence that has forced millions of people from their homes. Millions are in extreme hardship and dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.
We’ve supported over 100,000 people in Cameroon so far.
Working with our new partner, Public Concern, we are providing a range of emergency shelters and durable shelters.
Newly displaced people, both within Minawao Camp and outside the camp, will be supported with emergency tents and emergency shelters. We’ll also be providing household items like mosquito nets, sleeping mats, soap and kitchen sets.
People who have been displaced for longer need different support as they look to reconstruct their shelters into more durable structures.
To support them with this, we will be providing Shelter Packages with a range of construction materials including tarpaulin, wood, nails and cement.
We’ll also be supplying Community Tool Kits which include reusable items like hammers, nail pulls and brick molds. These will be shared between households.
These items can improve both the physical and emotional wellbeing of these families who have already been through so much.
Watch an update from our work in Minawao Camp below:
‘My husband and I were at home entertaining the children, when suddenly we heard gunshots and people started running everywhere. My husband told us to go with a neighbour, then people started quickly leaving the village, especially the women and children, but I could not see him.
‘I was afraid, and the children did not stop crying as we ran. I just followed the others without knowing where we were going.
‘That was the last time I saw my husband.
‘My home makes me feel something that I cannot explain. In my shelter I can recover in my own privacy, and I have the feeling of security for all of us. My children also recovered some peace and freedom. They can play and sleep well whenever they want.’
25-year-old Modu is originally from Nigeria. She now lives with her four children in Minawao Camp.
When Boko Haram destroyed her village, Modu fled with her neighbours. In the chaos, she lost her husband and hasn’t seen him since. She still lives in the hope that she will one day see him again.
Weeks after fleeing their home, Modu and her children eventually made it to Minawo Camp. Their first days inside the collective centre were not easy – Modu couldn’t sleep at night and they were living in incredibly overcrowded conditions.
Modu received a ShelterBox tent, as well as a kitchen set, mosquito nets and other essential items.
‘Life has become so much better. I still miss my husband, but I feel highly relieved. We finally have some privacy in our own home.’