Chad + 1 more

Providing quality education for displaced children in Eastern Chad

News and Press Release
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DJABAL, Chad, 29 October 2008 - Thirteen-year-old Manayar wants to see peace in Chad. She wants to continue school and become a doctor in her own country.

Manayar has been living in a Djabal refugee camp in Eastern Chad for four years now. Her daily routine starts at four AM, when she wakes up to go to school.

Manayar prepares tea and 'la boule' - a traditional Chadian and Sudanese dish made of warm bread and sauce. She awakens her two younger brothers to get them ready as well. After quickly sipping her tea, she rushes to the camp's school to attend classes, which start at seven o'clock in the morning.

An educational routine

Manayar's curriculum includes mathematics, environmental education, geography and Arabic. Between nine and 10 o'clock in the morning, all students go home for a quick break.

After a short nap, Manayar goes out to fetch water for her mother before dedicating herself to school homework. At six in the afternoon, Manayar returns to educational activities for another hour, then finally heads home.

During the summer holidays, agricultural chores and firewood collecting replace academic lessons in Djabal.

Three generations of women

"I cannot imagine life without school," Manayar says. "Studying opens my eyes and mind and is my path to the future."

After she finishes speaking, her mother, Fatimé, and her grandmother, Mariam, join the conversation. Manayar's grandmother, who can neither read nor write, works with UNICEF and the Italian Development Cooperation (COOPI) as a midwife in the Djabal camp, whereas Manayar's mother helps with registering newborns.

The three generations are now sitting under a tree's shade. The grandmother, who ensures safe deliveries for women; the mother, who is part of a Sudanese generation that fights for basic child rights - like birth certificates; and finally the daughter, who hopes to finish her education and fulfill her dream of one day becoming a doctor.

Thanks to UNICEF and its partners, more than 75,000 children like Manayar who live in 12 Sudanese refugee camps attended school during the first half of 2008. UNICEF's support ranges from improving classroom equipment and distributing learning materials to training community teachers and parent-teacher associations.

Yet, challenges remain

UNICEF education projects for refugees in Chad are currently under-funded. Although almost all refugee children of primary school age manage to attend school, materials and classrooms are still insufficient.

Although Manayar has four more years until reaching eighth grade, she already hopes to go to Sudan and finish her studies in the capital city of Khartoum. The main reason why she would have to cross the border is the lack of post-primary school education in Chadian refugee camps due to insufficient teachers and funding.

In the meantime, UNICEF is committed to give Manayar and her peers the best possible opportunity to fulfil their dreams of quality 'Education for All' in Eastern Chad.