No fewer than 326 Cameroonian refugees are undergoing various skills acquisition programmes at various settlements in Cross River.
The Cameroonian refugess, drawn from different camps across the state, are being trained in Information and Communication Technology, pastries and catering, aluminum work, tailoring and fashion design, among others.
Speaking with newsmen after the launch of one of its ICT Career Empowerment Centre at Adagom settlement in Ogoja on Wednesday, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Community Refugees Relief Initiative, (CRRI), Dr Celestine Atangcho, said the aim was to give the refugees hope, as well as show concern and empathy.
Atangcho said the idea behind the empowerment was to give the people from the Southern part of Cameroon a sense of belonging and hope to carry on in life.
“We believe it is better to empower the people in the various camps instead of just giving them food items and medicines, which is equally important.
“We are carrying out this training and empowerment in six camps in Cross River, and we have others in Taraba State too which we believe will reduce a lot of dependency and create durable solutions for the people.
“We want the people to acquire skills so that they can have something to fall back on when the crisis at home is over.
“We know the crisis will not last forever, so our people need to start up from somewhere as a lot of them have lost their homes, jobs and families,” Atangcho said.
On his part, Mr Ayaude Adetoye, the UN High Commisioner for Refugees Livelihood Officer, said the intervention would reduce the burden on both federal and state governments.
Adetoye said the initiative by CRRI was laudable because it would give the people hope and something to fall back on in the nearest future, especially when the Cash Based Intervention ended.
“If other groups follow suit, the refugees will be easily rehabilitated. The Cash Based Intervention will not last forever, so the empowerment will make a lot of them self reliant.
“We really commend the gesture by CRRI, and we appeal to other organisations to take this kind of initiative to reduce the burden on government,” Adetoye said. (NAN)