Youth Migration: The case of Rita
Her decision to move to the city started when her father lost his business and could not continue to support her continue her education.
Rita is the first daughter of a family based in Douala after having travelled to seek for a job, born in 1989 when the father was a labourer in a carpentry workshop earning about €50 (27000FCFA) per month.
When the father lost his job in 1996, he had to move back to the village with the children already four in number at this time. In the village it was very difficult for him to adapt to the living conditions, where he tried all the odd jobs he could think of. He finally started a business in drugs (marijuana) which was flourishing very well. He started educating his children very well. But as always is the case knowing that he was doing a fraudulent business that could not last for long and with the drug money which is always sweat and easy to squander, he become even more poorer than as he was before when the police discovered his business and were behind him.
This time Rita has passed from form 3 to 4 (in 2004), despite the fact that she was attaining the Government secondary school where the father could not spend more than €60 (30000FCFA) a year on her, it was impossible for her to continue her education.
At the age of 15 she was given out to one supermarket owner where she worked endlessly. Her salary was given directly to her father. She will work in the supermarket carrying heavy cartons, serving customers, keeping the large and busy supermarket clean before returning to start the domestic works at her patron him. She will work till late in the night to get up very early the next morning and prepare the morning breakfast.
Despite all these and with her salary given directly to her father, the father was still demanding more from her. At one time a foreigner visiting saw this bright small girl working in the supermarket and was so suck that he made an enquiring about her. This foreigner handed €100 (500 000FCFA) to Rita to continue her education that she was still too young to abandon school and to do such laborious work.
When Rita handed this money to her father she could not say a word as of date on how the money has been used.
With the continuous demands from her father Rita started implementing herself in fraudulent acts in the supermarket. At one time when she was caught by her patron in one of those fraudulent acts Rita almost committed suicide. Following this unbearable situation the patron of the supermarket terminated her contract.
Rita who was already the bread basket of the family with instructions from her father she had to search for another source of revenue as fast as possible to let her younger ones continue their education and to sustain her parents. Rita had no choice rather than to move to the city of Yaounde.
In Yaounde Rita made contacts with one of the members of NORSR. She revealed her story and how she has arrived Yaounde, where she was staying with friends who were ready to send her out at any time. Through some research and findings NORSR was able to identify some of her relatives. Mr. Godlove working with a renounced institution and a relative was able to help Rita. He took Rita to stay with him enrolled her in an evening school, gave her all the privileges one could give to his own daughter. Rita was ready to stay with him and continue her education as she was now aware that without the basic education she could not do much. But there was the continuous pressure from the father, who has become too demanding to the daughter as the daughter was the sole bread fetcher for the family.
Not long when Mr. Godlove, his family and Rita had to travel to the village after three months of stay of Rita in Yaounde, where Rita went to visit her parent. When their return period was near Mr. Godlove made a visit to Rita’s family to have serious talks with the parents but was only told that Rita has gone to Bamenda for a job, and that education was not meant for her. She will not go and spend her time in the classroom while her younger ones are there dying of hunger.
We still recall when Rita (at the age of about 18) contacted us she was ready to even take a room on her own while looking for a job. She was ready to take any job so far as she will have money to help her family back home......................................