Meet the #Real Life Heroes

I am Ngonga Linda Nchoune, a patient and dynamic woman who is passionate about teaching and assisting children grow and develop into adults with integrity, empathy, self-esteem and above all the fear of God. My humanitarian work also spans across youths, women, men and other vulnerable adults in the communities as well.

My story as a humanitarian started without me even knowing it. Having been a victim myself from the burning down of our village by a neighbouring village, we had to grapple with my Daddy who was a stroke patient and retired from his job before addressing the stress and anxiety on the entire family, friends and relatives as well that accompanied the calamity. 

It was so heartbreaking to him, and as the only daughter who had just graduated from the University and did not have a job I had the responsibility to not only cope with my Dad’s situation and loss of property, I also had my own frustrations to deal with. How we managed through that tragic period is incomprehensible to me till date. Most of the villagers  were lodged at the Bamenda Congress Hall while those who had relatives squatted with them. We were renting a house in Bamenda at the time and I had to visit villagers with foodstuff and clothes from time to time at the provided refugee camp. This could happen only after I had taken proper care of my Dad and assuring him that all will be well in due time. During this period I came to understand fully the reality of being homeless, hopeless, hungry and psychologically traumatized. I did not only have my family to look after but a whole lot of people whose situation seemed worse than mine. This singular experience dramatically changed my perception of life.

From then on, I developed deep empathy for humanity in general and I have been reaching out to several people in need and distress in order to influence their lives positively. This is evident in my voluntary work with TeenAlive as the Coordinator for the North West Region. Through TeenAlive I have been able to reach out to so many people in my areas of work including individuals that I come across or those referred to me by people who know me. Additionally, I have been sensitizing on menstrual hygiene, GBV, sexual reproductive health where I distribute sanitary pads. I was on the sensitization team on the prevention of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with TeenAlive where we equally distributed face masks, buckets, hand sanitizers produced by TeenAlive and active bleach.

Moreover, with the myriad of issues plaguing the NW Region due to the armed conflict that is going on there, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most vulnerable communities and people who have been hard hit as a result of the ongoing crisis and have now found themselves as IDPs in Bamenda urban center which is relatively safe. So far, I have reached out to many destitute, sick, hungry, aggressive, angry people and the list goes on, coming from different villages and even in Bamenda urban center that in considered safe. The government no doubt in their part is helping out.  However, the aid hardly gets to all those who are in need or is insufficient. Hence there is need for NGOs like TeenAlive to compliment this action.

As one of the volunteers with TeenAlive organization, we have been on the field since this crisis began working with  IDPs and most especially survivors of GBV who are most often relegated to the background. GBV as I realized is also permissible in homes perpetrated by a husband to the wife leaving the children devastated. In one of my sensitization sessions on GBV I was told   a story whereby a woman whose husband usually beat her up every night when he came back drunk dropped dead during one of such incidences and the daughter who was a witness to the scene got livid. These and many more have been happening around our neighborhoods even before the crises which has now aggravated the situation.

Permit me to focus on two young girls and counting, that I reached out to and still following up, under the banner of TeenAlive organization, out of the uncountable number of people who have suffered GBV as a result of the current dispensation in the NW Region

In line with this, these two GBV survivor girls were already pregnant at the time they were telling me their story. One of the girls got wind of TeenAlive and its activities from her friend and IDP who had benefited from one of our outreach activities where we did sensitization on menstrual hygiene and sexual reproductive health and also distributed sanitary pads at the end.

She got to me in tears. I welcomed her and asked her to sit in order for her to calm down and be more comfortable, ready and willing to speak. After a while, I introduced myself and our organization highlighting what we do and letting her know that her story and information about her is safe with me and will be kept confidential. I went ahead to explain her rights and took verbal informed consent since I did not have access to the forms at the time.

After that, she then went ahead to explain how she had been raped by a man in front of his friends on her way to the farm in a village in Wei found in Wum (Northwest Region, Cameroon). This rape happened after the perpetrators had shot her mother and brother right before her eyes. Feeling hopeless, and stranded she went back home after crying her eyes out only to find out that their house has been set ablaze. In her frustration, she fled to her aunt’s place who had equally suffered the same fate. Together they fled to Bamenda for refuge.

While in Bamenda they were hosted by one Good Samaritan who is from the same village with them but based in Bamenda and who is host to a good number of IDPs (about 27) in her home.

After listening carefully to her tragic story I realized that she needed a safe space to confide in. TeenAlive supported this survivor with a Mama Kit to prepare her for delivery. She was also kept in our self shelter to be administered Mental Health and Psycho Social Support(MHPSS).

Serving TeenAlive has given me the opportunity to interact with many vulnerable young people and adults who are either survivors, children of survivors, orphans, separated children and teenage mothers . Consequently, I have been able to safeguard and promote the welfare of more than 5000 children and counting in the South West and North West Regions enabling them to better themselves and engage productively with their communities.

Working with these children and other vulnerable persons have been very gratifying and has motivated me to be innovative and have come up with creative ideas to improve or make the life meaningful for them. This is evident in the numerous hans on skills sessions such as production of active bleach, embroidery and Beading. This has gone a long way in equipping them with skills, and possibilities to better themselves and support their communities.

I consider my work with TeenAlive as a privilege to continue playing a crucial role in the communities I intervene in and eventually bring about a paradigm approach in the way children perceive growth, life challenges, development and life in general.

I will wrap up by saying that it has been very fulfilling being able to reach out and put a smile on the faces of people who had lost hope. I look forward to working more for humanity especially during this crucial moment in the NW Region when things seem to be worsening and the future is bleak for most people albeit the limited resources of our organization.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *