Changing women’s lives in Chad

Fatimé Abdélat, a beneficiary of Al-Nadjah Centre is proud of having been made able to knit Credits: SECADEV

Fatimé Abdélat, a beneficiary of Al-Nadjah Centre is proud of having been made able to knit
Credits: SECADEV

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The 235 beneficiaries in Al-Nadjah Centre are women, with a special focus on unmarried mothers and girls withdrawn from school.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 as the main breadwinner in a region wracked by conflict and poverty.

Caritas Chad (known nationally as SECADEV) aims at helping these women find solutions to their problems and improve their living conditions through the centre.

The Director of the Center, Mr Nassangar Ndorassengar said, “The global objective of the training activity is to help women and girls learn and undertake income generating activities”.

The themes of those trainings were focused on local food manufacture such as fruits juice (mangoes, tamarind, and tomatoes), jam and sweets.

“At the end of the training program,” Nassangar said, “The groups will be urged to start undertaking profitable activities.”

This last group of beneficiaries is composed of young children from three to six years old sent to the nursery school. Opened for all the children of Adré, the nursery school had registered thirty six pupils within 2007 and 2008.

This number was to decrease further when another ngo called Zoé’s Ark with no links to Caritas was accused of smuggling children out of Chad for adoption in France in October 2007. The controversy caused created a lack of trust in all ngo’s, and its been the job of Caritas to rebuild that.

Chad: Quick facts Yr 2006
Population, total (millions) 10.5
Life expectancy at birth, total (years) 50.6
Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births) 124.3
Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24) 23.2
GNI (current US$) (billions) 5.2
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) 450.0
Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15-49) 3.5
Source: World Development Indicators

“Many children were withdrawn from the nursery school by their parents. We have had to sensitize the parents for weeks in order to persuade them sending back the children to the nursery school”, explained Fatimé Brahim Hissein, who is in charge of the nursery school.

Another centre is being built in Guéréda in eastern Chad by SECADEV with the support of Caritas.

Antoine Adoum Goulgué is a Communication officer with SECADEV, Abéché.


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