Building for the future in Eastern Chad


Chad features towards the bottom of global rankings for governance and human development, and is classified as a ‘fragile state’. During the last fifteen years, Eastern Chad has become the home to over 300,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled conflict in their own country and have settled in thirteen camps over the border.

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) tertiary education programme aims to improve the quality of education in the camps, which in turn will improve the quality of life there. This also involves providing more educational opportunities for the local community.

Such access to combined tertiary education is one way of encouraging the integration of refugees into the local community; forging links between communities in the host country and those settled there helps to prevent tensions arising between them.

Supported by Jesuit Missions’ Christmas appeal in 2016, JRS Chad has been able to provide tertiary education to many students. Over 1000 students have been registered across three camps in the region, including many women and Chadians.

Amal, 20, is originally from Sudan and is now a refugee living in Djabal camp in Chad. His dream is to go to university and study medicine. However, to support his large family he has chosen to study mechanics at the vocational training centre, supported by JRS, with the hope that it can earn him some money quickly. He is also taking lessons in IT, French and English.

According to Amal, ‘Education is the key of life, when you are educated, you can do anything. In my life I hope to study more and more, I have big goals for my education.’

Many students who are accessing this tertiary education programme hope that, through their advanced education, they will have more work opportunities, which will enable them to leave Chad.

This article first appeared in Jesuits & Friends issue 99 Spring 2018. Read it online here.