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Keeping refugee children safe from coronavirus in Cameroon

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Thanks to the support of the Irish public for our appeal, we helped over 4,300 children to keep safe from coronavirus in the Minawo refugee camp in Cameroon.

Nearly half a million people in the Far North Region of Cameroon are displaced after fleeing violence, including around 50,000 refugees from neighbouring Nigeria. In 2020 the coronavirus pandemic resulted in lockdown and school closures, which created an additional burden to an area where many people already rely on aid to survive. 

With funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance coronavirus appeal, Plan International supported around 4,300 children in the Minawo refugee camp and surrounding area of Moloko in the North Region of Cameroon by helping them keep safe from coronavirus by handing out face masks as well as distributing soap and hand sanitizer to 12 schools. 

Plan International also trained teachers in these schools on how to teach children on the importance of regular hand washing and social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. Plan International also arranged for these vital health messages to be played on local community radio stations in order to reach even more people.

I didn't know how to protect myself from coronavirus.

Madi - Cameroon - supported by Irish Emergency Alliance coronavirus appeal
15-year-old Madi washes his hands at a station installed with funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance. Credit: Plan International


15-year-old Madi lives with his parents, four sisters and three brothers in Mokolo, in the Far North region of Cameroon. He is a student in class 6 and like all his classmates was originally sent home following the outbreak of coronavirus. He was initially unsure of how to keep safe from coronavirus. He and his community benefitted from the installation of hygiene facilities, the distribution of facemasks, and awareness-raising on the virus.

He said: "I didn't know how to protect myself from coronavirus. We had heard about the number of victims claimed by coronavirus throughout the world. in our remote region, already dealing with difficult living conditions, we knew that we were facing trouble." 

Madi's father, a schoolteacher, described how he and his family struggled last year after his school closed during lockdown. "I stayed at home for many months without a salary, I didn't know how long it would last and how the family would survive."