“I was a chef in Rue Casaneuve, a big restaurant in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. I was also part of their culinary program which allowed people to work and get their culinary degree at the same time. Like all young men, I had a big vision for my life. I wanted to improve myself professionally and intellectually abroad and return to open a big restaurant.
My family was killed in the ongoing violence in Cameroon, and I was left to fend for my siblings as the oldest. As the situation in the country declined and my family died, my uncle claimed all of my inheritance and left my siblings and I in the street with nowhere to live. Business at the restaurant was also declining.
I left my work and sold everything I owned when I heard about the promise of Culinary school and work in Cyprus. Maybe this would be the big opportunity I had been waiting for. But when I got there, it was not as promised. I was in a village far from the school and had to pay too much money to get to class every day. With no source of income, I couldn’t continue to pay my expenses or the tuition of the culinary program. I fled to Istanbul in search of work or a means of surviving.
Now it’s winter and I have no place to live. I left my 6 siblings back in Cameroon in poverty and they are calling me every day hoping I can send something.”
Robert is currently homeless in Istanbul, Turkey. With a partial education in culinary services, he wants more than anything to finish school, get a job and send support home to his siblings.