By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the UN in Geneva On 02 July 2012, Floriana Polito and I had the pleasure of convening some influential figures in the fight against hunger and poverty. Caritas Internationalis, together with Oxfam, held an important side event focused on human rights in the context of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa; it was held at the Palais des Nations in conjunction with the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights.
Granite hills mark the horizon. The ground is carpeted with rocks. Apart from the dried up river beds (ouaddis) there is nowhere for vegetation to grow. Thorny shrubs are the only desert plant life. Nature is hostile in Eastern Chad. “Annual rainfall normally varies from 300 to 500 mm,” said Adoumadji, an agricultural technician working for SECADEV (Caritas Chad). “Less than 300 mm of rain fell last season. Crops dried up before they could yield anything.” Yassine Ibrahim harvested less than four sacks of millet this season, compared to previous years when he produced 23 sacks. “The little harvest I have got is finished and I am obliged to sell my cattle to feed my family,”he said. Extra demand means prices for cereals have risen so high they are unaffordable for most people. SECADEV supports community granaries in twenty villages. Residents share the food when prices are peaking, then top up the [...]
By Antoine Adoum Goulgué, SECADEV for Caritas The Al-Nadjah centre is a handsome building in the Chadian town of Adré, about 5 km from the border with Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. With finanancial and technical support from Caritas, the centre provides training for local women, a nursery school, and a playground. The 235 beneficiaries in Al-Nadjah Centre are women, with a special focus on unmarried mothers and girls withdrawn from school. Young mothers are often abandoned by their families and by the father if their child is born outside of marriage. Caritas provides them with support through the centre. Traditional beliefs force girls to abandon schooling as soon as they reach age of puberty (from 10 to 12 years old). Lacking opportunities provided by schooling, these girls go to the centre in order to learn knitting and food production. But the centre also helps any woman who faces the challenges of providing for her family [...]
By Caritas staff Although some calm has returned to eastern Chad after violence earlier in the year, Caritas staff and the people face hard times In eastern Chad, there are more than 240,000 Sudanese refugees from the conflict in Darfur. Fears of fresh fighting are at the forefront of people’s concerns. An attack of the Chadian rebels supported before the rainy season or an upsurge of violence in Darfur could generate new arrivals of refugees, internal displacements or have an impact on the humanitarian activities because of an increased insecurity. In order to cope with any situation, Caritas is preparing to reactivate contingency plans to face possible new displacements. The security situation is bad. In eastern Chad, humanitarian transportation is dangerous. Though they are protected by police in the camps, humanitarian organisations often have to face car-jacking on the roads. In May 2008, Pascal Marlinge, Head of Mission of Save the Children was killed by [...]