China Cautions Against Holiday Traveling.

Officials have tested hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing and millions in the port city of Dalian, after the country recorded 42 locally transmitted coronavirus cases in the previous week. 

The outbreak disrupted months of almost-zero case numbers. Denizens of Dalian have been advised not to leave the northern port city.

The recurrence comes just before the Lunar New Year; when hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel to their hometowns. The authorities are already looking forward to security: this year’s travel helped spread the virus.

The government is dissuading Beijing residents from traveling and crowding. It has also instructed travel companies not to organize any group tours to Beijing during the holiday, which falls on Feb next year.

Other parts of the country are equally taking safety measures. Being a home to many of China’s migrant workers, Anhui Province, intends to test and monitor all those who return for the holiday. 

Experts say with a plan to vaccinate 50 million people (although with unproven vaccines) and efforts to ramp up testing, there is no cause to worry about the travel period.

World Tourism Day – Rebuilding tourism in a safe, equitable, climate-friendly way.

Today September 27, 2020 is day to celebrate and promote tourism, bringing out its benefits while enhancing the quality of Tourism. 

Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. No country has been exempted from the glaring effects. 

Restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand have led to an unusual fall in international tourism numbers, which in turn have led to economic loss and the loss of jobs.

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 

Women, youth, and workers in the informal economy are the most at risk from tourism sector job losses and business closures due to the pandemic. At the same time, the destinations most reliant on tourism for jobs and economic growth are likely to be the hardest hit.

The tourism crisis is also a danger to wildlife conservation initiatives and to the protection of the world’s cultural heritage. The sudden fall in tourism revenues has cut off funding for biodiversity conservation.

With livelihoods at risk in and around protected areas, cases of poaching and looting are expected to rise. With 90% of World Heritages Sites closed as a result of the pandemic, humanity’s cultural heritage is at risk in all parts of the world.

On this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector, including how it contributes to the sustainable development goals, through its social, cultural, political, and economic value. 

Tourism can eventually help us move beyond the pandemic, by bringing people together and promoting  solidarity and trust – crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation so urgently needed at this time.

This Young Woman’s Desire to Support Her Community Will Blow Your Mind

This young woman desires to support her community at any cost. She wold not give up despite political tensions in her country putting her at risk.

By Paul Njie and Kesah Princely

When Ngu Justance Falone was 19, her quest to assist humanity heightened. It wasn’t because she wanted the fame that came with owning an NGO, but because deep within her, there was something not going right with the way society treated the less privileged.

What motivates this young woman?

Growing up in Muea, one of the roughest neighborhoods in Buea, South West region of Cameroon, Falone despised the notion that people had about her locality. The area is largely considered an avenue for everything evil —theft, promiscuity, violence, filth, moral decadence and a high propensity of dropping out of school.

Falone’s work serves the vulnerable of her community

Touched by these phenomena in her area, she was poised to change the narrative. And, in 2016, it was just about time she unleashed the bombshell. The then teenage high school student launched the Child Enrichment and Future Leaders’ Association, an NGO aimed at creating awareness on the need to embrace education and lead a decent life. 

As much as things went well with the foundation, there was need to restructure and re-strategize — this prompted a renaming of the organisation to Falone Foundation in early 2019. Since then, Falone Foundation has made huge impacts on the lives of Cameroonians, especially those from the crisis ravaged Anglophone minority regions.

After a conflict broke out in the two Anglophone regions of the bilingual country in 2016 — the same year Falone began her humanitarian work— her zeal towards philanthropy doubled, owing to the devastating consequences of the conflict which turned violent.

The challenges she has faced

But something went wrong along the way. Deep within the ongoing socio-political upheavals, she’s been finding it difficult to organise her routine campaigns to promote education in Buea, where she began before relocating to Douala, a neighbouring Francophone city.

Falone and her team

Threats from Anglophone secessionist fighters who want a breakaway state called Ambazonia, have made it even more difficult for the 22 year-old. The separatists have banned all school related activities, against what they claim is a poor system of education initiated by the Francophone dominated government.

“The Anglophone crisis has affected me a whole lot because, most of the activities I always carry out are in the South West, and that’s Buea. Given the fact that they [separatist fighters] said no schools should operate in the North West and South West regions, I could not donate there,” she said.

According to a recent UNHCR report, over half a million people are internally displaced in Cameroon, owing to the ongoing violence in the English speaking section of the country. The fifteen-member team of the humanitarian NGO has been able to locate and assist a few out of myriad internally displaced persons in Douala.

This young woman would not give up!

Though faced with a plethora of challenges, the dynamic enthusiasts have succeeded to visit and donate didactic material to students, organise clean-up campaigns in different orphanages and streets, as well as hold seminars to empower youth and promote sustainable development in Africa.

Falone Foundation

The Falone Foundation is gearing up for a mega project in Dschang, another Francophone town, in 2020, to provide aid to internally displaced persons despite financial constraints.

“It’s very difficult for me because the number is large and getting donors to sponsor this project is not really easy.”

Amid these challenges, the quality of her deeds to humankind has earned her foundation a nomination at the Returnees Awards 2019.  But, on thing is for sure; win or lose, Falone will always derive pleasure in one thing: reaching out to the vulnerable and knowing that it meant a great deal to them.

Anglophone crisis: Young Cameroonian Woman in Dire Need of Medical Aid

This young woman from Bamenda, Cameroon, is in dire need of medical assistance. You can reach her directly with your support through the numbers provided at the end of her story.

A 24 year-old woman in Bamenda, capital of one of the two Anglophone regions hit by a deadly conflict, is in desperate need of health assistance.

By Kesah Princely

Achu Melanie, who has been suffering from neuromyelitis since 2016 says hardship, as a result of the crisis has rendered her family unable to help her receive medical care. In an exclusive interview with EboniGram in Bamenda on October 10, Achu Melanie said she has developed multiple disabilities because she lacks money to treat herself. For nearly three years, she has been rendered mobility impaired and recently, a visual impairment has added to her frustration.

“My mother who is a farmer has been struggling to raise money for my treatment but the crisis has rendered her extremely poor to a level where she cannot help me again. I believe that if someone out there helps me, I can get well because the doctor said my head needs to be operated,” she said.

In 2013, Achu Melanie lost her father, just three years before she developed neuromyelitis. Her mother who has been by her for all these years can no longer provide for her daughter owing to a deadly conflict that has been ravaging the restive North West and South West of Cameroon for nearly three years.

A relative to Melanie, Mercy Arumbo, said her sister’s situation is deteriorating day after day because of the family’s inability to procure her monthly medication, owing to the socio-political imbroglio in the region.

Non-state militias are fighting to break away and form a country they call Ambazonia. The consequences of the conflict on locals, like Achu Melanie, have been devastating. The 24 year-old said she is aware that if her sickness is not properly and promptly handled, it could lead to even further complications.

Neuromyelitis is a central nervous system disorder that primarily affects the eye nerves (optic neuritis) and the spinal cord (myelitis). The young girl who before 2016 had to sit in for the Ordinary Levels Certificate exam, said she is hopeful that someone somewhere can help her to get well again and acheive her goals of becoming a successful accountant in future.

She had been advised by a doctor to do a surgery which costs FCFA 100, 000, about $168, an amount her family has not been able to raise.

Achu Melanie is one out of a myriad persons with disabilities who have been trapped in the deteriorating Anglophone armed conflict in Cameroon.

EboniGram has opened a platform for anyone who wishes to make a donation for Achu Melanie and other persons with disabilities trapped in the midst of the Anglophone crisis.

Please reach Ms. Echu with your donations at: +23764942155 or +237671836111. This is an appeal from our team to you. The least you do for Ms. Echu is the most you do for humanity.

Cameroon: Two Girls Brave the Odds, Campaign for School Benches in Crisis-ridden Region

In the crisis-affected region of the Southwest, two Cameroonian girls are raising money to provide school benches for pupils.

by Paul Njie

When Raisa Foletia and Forbin Audrey watched the news recently, they didn’t like what they saw. The images of pupils crammed in classrooms with only few benches were shocking—they became inspired to launch a campaign to provide more classroom benches for Government Primary School, Unity Quarters in Limbe, Cameroon.

An Equinoxe TV report showed kids in this school scrambling for seats—which were insufficient in the first place—just so they could receive lectures. Be it on the floor or on pieces of planks where they sat, the pupils didn’t care. They were only eager to learn, after some of them had been away from school for about three years.

Why the campaign for school benches?

A separatist insurgency in the area—just like in other parts of Anglophone Cameroon—has crippled social life. Cameroon has been suffering from an Anglophone crisis for close to three years now.

The crisis broke out in 2016 when Anglophone lawyers and teachers staged sit-ins, against the over dominance of the French system in the two English speaking North West and South West regions of Cameroon—the country is bilingual, with French and English subsystems.

In 2017, some angry Anglophone Cameroonians took up arms after their protests decrying the marginalization of Anglophones by the Francophone dominated government were violently quelled by the military. They demanded a breakaway from the main country to form a separate state they refer to as “Ambazonia.”

Since then, the separatists have ordered for school boycotts. Frequent gun battles between the separatists and state military have forced more than 80% of schools to shut down in Anglophone Cameroon, and leaving close to a million children out of school according to UNICEF. The secessionist fighters have not hesitated to kidnap students and teachers who violated their ban on schools; in some cases, teachers have reportedly been killed.

The fear of reprisal from the separatists prevented some parents in the Anglophone zones from sending their children to school—others have braved the odds and let their kids go to school. Now, some children are more determined to go to school, after years of staying away.

Some structures at Government Primary School, Unity Quarters in Limbe, have seemingly become shadows of themselves. Located in the restive South West, the school has existed for quite a long while; a building which hosted at least one classroom has been abandoned, making learners overcrowded in other classes.

But despite the lack of facilities here, the school couldn’t help but admit more pupils than normal this academic year. At least, it is seemingly meant to let those who’ve been out of school have another chance at education.

The learning conditions are deplorable: pupils learn seated on the floor, some while standing and others jam-packed on the few available seats. Shockingly, though, pupils often try to repair disintegrated benches themselves, just so they could have a place to sit.

How Audrey and Raisa are faring with their campaign for school benches

Raisa and Audrey, both girls aged 20, couldn’t be any indifferent to this. Owing to the grave security situation in Cameroon now, they asked that EboniGram withhold key details about them, including their pictures.

When school authorities recently made an appeal to government and people of goodwill to render assistance to the school, Raisa and Audrey immediately launched a campaign aimed at getting donations from different people, to provide more benches for the primary school.  

“It was just so sad how in the center of the town [Limbe], there’ll be that type of problem and everybody is just watching,” Audrey told EboniGram.

“So we thought maybe we might not be able to do that much, but at least we could start a small campaign with our friends to raise money for benches and donate to them.”

And, the campaign has been going just great. Through social media platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, the girls have been able to get donations from several quarters: the likes that have raised money for at least 15 benches. Notwithstanding the progress, some comments from spectators prove to be mean and discouraging.

“What do these children [Raisa and Audrey] want to show?” they’d ask, “why are you people trying to do the government’s job?”

Despite these comments, “we’ve decided to do this, so we just turn a deaf ear to the comments. The people in support of the idea are way more than those against it,” Audrey said.

When Raisa and Audrey visited the school some days ago to see things for themselves, they informed the school’s Head Mistress about their project. She could not hide her joy and her hope that things were about to change for the struggling pupils.

In a few weeks, the pupils will notice a new change—from sitting on the bare floor, to learning with every comfort that new benches can offer. Nothing more could have given Audrey and Raisa more joy.

They’ll end their campaign knowing they’d have achieved one thing, which is, using their rallying force to make the young ones smile again.