Hope for the future of the Central African Republic

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Cordaid has just completed an intervention that provided humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable families in the very fragile context of northwestern Central African Republic (CAR).

The past year with Cordaid has been an intense experience, complex and challenging but with many positive results, leading me to believe in a better future for this highly vulnerable part of the world. Although armed conflict and social tension have left both physical and psychological scars, the population continues to demonstrate resilience and hope.

I would like to share some recent and inspiring encounters I had with both Cordaid staff and beneficiaries:

Elisabeth, a displaced woman from Koui, told me: “For almost 5 years, we haven’t been able to spend the holidays at the end of the year in peace. This year, I wanted to dance and make food for my whole family, but my means were limited. I have hope, however, that the agricultural assistance I have received from Cordaid to support my farm will result in a bountiful harvest, and we will soon be able to have a wonderful Easter celebration with the whole family.”

Berekoutou, a dynamic young mother of 23, moved out of her village to Bocaranga to raise her children in safety. She was happy to inform me that her 8-year-old boy, Daniel, will go to a school supported by Cordaid, not far from their house. He dreams of becoming a soldier and hopes to contribute to the safety of his community and his country.

Olivier, a Cordaid employee and native of Bocaranga, told me last New Year’s Eve that he wants to pursue his studies in social sciences and would like to take courses in logistics, so one day he could work in public administration and contribute to the development of his country.

During a visit of Cordaid activities, I spoke with Abdoulaye, an 82-year-old man full of wisdom. He lives with his 16-year-old grandson Diedo. His house was burned down during recent armed clashes in Bocaranga. Abdoulaye is one of the beneficiaries of Cordaid’s shelter project, and he is extremely grateful that his house will soon be rehabilitated. Though he has certainly confronted many challenges in his 82 years, he is looking forward to this new beginning.

The Central African Republic remains totally dependent on international goodwill and solidarity in the form of humanitarian assistance. Despite the humanitarian projects that have been undertaken, needs are still significant: access to potable water is minimal and post-conflict agricultural production is largely insufficient to feed all the families in need. Many families remain displaced from their homes. After over 15 years of conflict, living conditions are fragile but families and communities are holding on to hope. When I see children being happy to be heading off to school in the morning or displaced people and returnees happily heading off to their farms, it gives me hope. The resilience of the human spirit never ceases to impress me.