Some 100 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, have benefitted from psychological support through mindfulness, storytelling, poetry, motivational talks, video projection as well as question and answer sessions.

 The exercise, organised in a bid to address the issue of mental trauma faced by young victims of the crisis took place on October 5 and 6 at the premises of the Hope and Rehabilitation Organisation, HaRO Cameroon, in Yaounde, as part of the project to transform their pain to purpose.

The keep fit was organised by Positive Youths Africa, PYA, in partnership with HaRO Cameroon with the aim of reducing the impact the Anglophone crisis has had on them and even make them forget the numerous atrocities they experienced while they were still in the warzone.

During the exercise, IDPs of all categories shared their experiences and highlighted their expectations, of which the most demanded was education.

Franka Soulem, Director of PYA said: “our aim is to help mentally traumatised IDPs or victims of war in general, to be healed through the art mindfulness and released through the art of storytelling and poetry. We hope to expand our art to include not only storytelling and poetry, but also music, drawing and drama, because we believe that art is one of the best forms of release and that art is best expressed through extreme moments of pain or joy so we do not want our victims of war to waste their pain.”

“We want them to transform themselves from victims to survivors and from victims of war to sustainable agents of peace. And if we do not cater for the victims, we will not achieve sustainable peace because these victims could be the next warriors,” Franka added.

Laying emphasis on the choice of psychological support, the Director of HaRO Cameroon, Fritz Kwa Mendi, said, most organisations are bent on providing material support to IDPs, and as such, they thought psychological support is important to heal the minds of the IDPs.

“We saw the need for these IDPs to go through a healing session. We noticed that, most organisations are so focused on giving material support. So, we came up with the healing session because, no matter what you give somebody, if the person feels traumatised, it will not do good,” Fritz Kwa highlighted.

He stressed that, the partnership thought a healing session could help transform the minds of the IDPs and encourage them to move forward, remain focused, believe in themselves and let go the past. However, HaRO Cameroon Director hopes to see Cameroonians, especially the IDPs have a new mindset, so that they can pick up again despite their experiences.

The representative of the Ministry of External Relations, MINREX, encouraged the young IDPs to be promoters of peace.

To her, if peace is promoted by all, there will be no shooting, no discrimination because there will be love for the person next to us.

A similar exercise of this nature will take place later this month with refugees in Cameroon, and in November with Cameroon refugees in Nigeria, in the Ogboja refuge camp.

By Annie Babelle Odounlami