A story of courage and resilience: an internally displaced woman's journey

April 24, 2023

Twenty-two-year-old Awa Emilienne Megha is from Bamenda in the North-West of Cameroon. She is a victim of the crisis that has been affecting the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon for seven years. Her father was murdered there. Aged 16, Awa was displaced from her home to the Central Region, with no resources to start a new life.

Women entrepreneurs need credit and skills

Emilienne considers Cameroon an Africa in miniature. One in which the role of women is still perceived as the stay-at-home mother doing household chores.

“In Cameroon women have no access to credit from banks, and other ladies in some parts still suffer from early forced marriages and are deprived of education.”

However, in her view, this scenario is changing. As a digital arts student in the TechWomen Factory project in partnership with UN Women, she has gained invaluable tech skills alongside entrepreneurship experience to build her own small business.

“The difficulty to get credit from banks by female entrepreneurs is the biggest challenge that limits their growth and productivity. If I had access to the money required to start a natural juice bar, I would have been running my juice bar already.”

Emilenne was born in a village called Pinyin and her past hides a brutal reality. After her father was murdered, she roamed the streets in order to raise money and sustain her family. She got involved with the Cuso International organization as an internally displaced student and trained in the production of pastries and natural juices. At the TechWomen Factory she foresaw a brighter future for herself.

Emilienne grew up in great hardship, knowing that her entire family was struggling to survive. However, this never diminished her expectations and hope for a better life. She still considers growing up in Cameroon an experience that taught her to be stronger and better.

Emilienne says that if she can survive Cameroon, she can survive anywhere.


Photo: UN Women

Skills make dreams real

Empowered Lady of Virtue (E Lov) is a brand of natural juices created and managed by Emilenne at home, using the digital art skills she learned at TechWomen Factory to break the chain of poverty in her family. Her entrepreneurial goals are to become an inspiring businesswoman with a natural juice bar franchise with over 200 employees in Cameroon. She believes that with her skill-set, she can finally reach for her dreams.

“Life has been very difficult for me, but after I joined TechWomen Factory I learned skills of my own, that have enabled me to set up the juice bar venture.”

In her own words, Emilienne says thank you to Cuso International’s volunteer Abdesselam Mejlaoui and to the entire organization for their aid and for inspiring Cameroonian girls and bringing out the best in them, making them more independent and productive.

She especially says thanks to UN Women through the Second Chance Education programme. Through SCE’s support, she received a computer which helps her to work productively as a new entrepreneur alongside enhancing her digital arts skills.

“This support from UN Women through the SCE Project has brought me to where I am today”.