SOS Children in Chad
One of Africa’s poorest nations, life in Chad is highly precarious. Ongoing civil war and frequent natural disasters turn life into a daily struggle for the majority of people, nearly two thirds of whom live in poverty. It is against this background that SOS Children is supporting the most vulnerable to live in peace and security.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Chad by sponsoring a child:
High levels of poverty, illiteracy and a refugee crisis on the doorstep
Rural populations suffer most from high levels of poverty and illiteracy. Only 4% have access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation is scarce. This results in widespread and often life-threatening illness caused by waterborne diseases such as cholera. This, along with frequent natural disasters, increases the burden on Chad's inadequate medical services.
With limited access to even basic education, fewer than a third of people can read and write. Chad is also home to many refugees, including 200,000 people who have fled from civil war in Darfur. Chad’s own civil war has forced 140,000 citizens from their homes.
Children face extreme violence, trafficking and recruitment by militias
- The infant mortality rate is staggering at 150 per 1,000 live births.
- Around a quarter of rural households are headed by women, resulting in an increased risk of child poverty in these areas.
- Adolescents and even young children are recruited by armed militias, with broken families at particular risk from these groups.
- Children are not protected from the intense clashes between government forces and rebel groups – many are the victims of extreme violence, including rape and murder.
- Child trafficking, forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation are also widespread.
- Children are particularly at risk of injury from mines and other explosives left in the ground during civil war clashes.
- Chad is home to 670,000 orphaned or abandoned children, many of whom have lost their parents because of AIDS.
Our Work in Chad
In 2005, SOS Children's Village N'Djamena was completed. The Village has twelve houses providing a new home and a new family for up to 120 orphaned and abandoned children. In addition, we built an SOS Nursery and an SOS Primary School. Both the nursery and the school are open to the local community as well as to children from the village. An SOS Medical Centre provides regular medical check-ups and promotes preventative medicine in the local community. It can treat up to 5,500 patients a year.
Our charity also run an Emergency Relief Programme in Bahai in Chad, to support children and families fleeing the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. SOS Children provides psycho-social support to children, who are often traumatized by their experiences.
An SOS Social Centre has been established in N’Djari, which offers Family Strengthening Programmes to support families to stay together and help to prevent child abandonment. We provide training for parents to help them to support their children financially. The Programme also ensures that children have access to essential services (e.g. educational, nutritional, health support) for their healthy development. This includes offering counselling and psychological support where necessary.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Chad
SOS Children launched an Emergency Relief Programme for refugees from Darfur in September 2006 in Bahai, eastern Chad. The SOS relief team, which also includes refugees, is working in Oure Cassoni, Chad's second largest refugee camp with around 26,000 people. The team focuses on providing psychosocial care for traumatised children and their parents. There is still a tremendous need for this care.
The Emergency Relief Programme provides psychosocial support for many children and adults who had not previously received any support. Many of the refugees have been living in the temporary desert camp since 2004. "Before we had finished building the SOS Centre, we went directly to the families in their tents and where they were living to find those who needed help the most. People's reactions were very positive. The fact that someone was coming up to them, listening to them and taking their problems seriously helped them," says Yolanda van den Broek, director of the Emergency Relief Programme, describing the initial reactions to the programme on the border with Sudan.
SOS Children is the only NGO to offer psychosocial help in Bahai, and works closely with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Rescue Committee. "Since we are the only ones to provide psychosocial and psychiatric help, other NGOs contact us and ask us to help staff members who have been caught up in attacks or need psychological care for some other reason. We have even counselled a few NGO workers", says Yolanda.When possible, the children attend group therapy sessions, where they play, sing and paint; these activities provide children with a sense of security, which is extremely important. At the present time, 322 refugee children benefit from this service.
SOS Villages d'Enfants Tchad
Tel: +235/251 77 73