Helping to heal survivors of atrocities

Aboubakar Dalil is a 25 year old Gold Award holder from Cameroon. For the past two years, he has been engaged in the Award through The Special Pathways Project, where he has used the time to help victims of the Boko Haram terrorist group as part of his Voluntary Service section. 

The Alternative Pathways Project seeks to make the Award accessible to young people who are at risk of abuse, violence and crime. Through this project the principles of the programme are used to equip young people with alternatives for a better life. The project focuses on young offenders in Cameroon’s correctional facilities such as prisons, and also on vocational empowerment centres, where young girls and boys receive help to overcome the many challenges they face.

Cameroon children playing

Here, Aboubakar speaks about his experiences in his own words: 

“Being an indigene of the extreme north region, I can attest that the educational level of our population is low, and I consider myself privileged to have completed a degree at university and also my Gold Award.

“As part of my Award, I engaged community members in the extreme north region of Cameroon, as part of the identification of strategies to prevent the recruitment of young people into the extremist Boko Haram sect. Boko Haram is a Islamic terrorist group based in north-eastern Nigeria, Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon. To date, I continue to serve as a volunteer in the Salaam School for children who are victims of the Boko Haram atrocities; an initiative I joined as part of my Award.”

Cameroon children playing

“At first, I did not see how the Award would help me to make a significant difference in society until the outbreak of the coronavirus across the world, including in the town of Maroua in the extreme north region of Cameroon. Since the outbreak, I have been serving on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 as a community mobiliser, leading sensitisation activities as part of the response team in Maroua, as part of Local Youth Corner Cameroon and with other government structures.

“At the start of August 2020, I am proud to say that by using my leadership, communication and other skills learnt in the different sections of the Award, and through my interactions with mentors and Award Leaders at Local Youth Corner Cameroon extreme north office, I am able to support the COVID-19 prevention response for the town of Maroua and beyond. Through public sensitisation engagements and also using local languages, I am able to help spread information as best I can.

“I am proud to be part of the Award family and hope that by my example, many young people will appreciate the Award as a true leadership development opportunity that prepares young people to serve their communities.”