People of Chad

Most of the people of Chad, who number some eleven million, live in abject poverty with Chad considered the seventh poorest country in the world with 80% of its population living below the poverty line.

Within its already poor boundaries there are an estimated 55,000 refugees from the Central African Republic, 280,000 refugees from the Sudan and a further 170,000 internally displaced people. There are a number of ethnic groups within Chad with the Sara making up 27.7% of the population, Arab 12.3%, Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%, Kanem-Bornou 9%, Ouaddai 8.7%, Hadjarai 6.7%, Tandjile 6.5%, Gorane 6.3%, Fitri-Batha

4.7%, other 6.4%, and an 'unknown' 0.3%. The country is predominantly (moderate) Muslim. Life expectancy at birth is just 47.2years.

The people of Chad face many challenges and the conflicts within the country, particularly in the north, have been detailed elsewhere. Many do not have access to safe water with many wells still in existence despite being built in the 1960s. (In fact only around 17% of the rural population having access to safe water.)

Others, despite living close to rivers, report "the primary need that we have, it's the need for wells in the villages. Although we live along the Chari River, we find that the water we draw from the river makes us sick. Especially between the months of March and May, when the river dries up a bit, diarrhoea spreads in the region, and causes many deaths. Water is essential to life, but if the water source is polluted, this puts our entire population in danger, especially the children."

Indeed health care provision is almost non existent for the people of Chad, along with an absence of any social security program in the country. As one Chadian noted "the most common medical problems that the people of my region experience are these: snake and scorpion bites, malaria, diarrhoea and dysentery, meningitis, conjunctivitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, and hernias." Health outcomes for children in Chad are poor with one in ten dead before their fifth birthday.


People of Chad

People of Chad

People of Chad

People of Chad


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People of Chad

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Human Development Index for Chad 2000 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Chad is in 184th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Chad fall far short of even sub-Saharan standards.

Chad VillageVery few people in Chad have access to electricity (an estimated 1-1.5% of the country's population) with most Chadians burning wood and animal manure for power. People, especially in rural areas, live with their extended families in 'compounds' comprising many traditional huts although, more recently, some brick buildings are being developed.

A typical Chad rural scene would comprise an unpaved road full of animals, motos, bicycles and people mixed together with little shacks by the 'roadside' operating as 'corner' stores ~ Chad has 20,753 miles of roads of which only 166 miles are paved.

Educational outcomes are also poor for the people of Chad with four out of every five people in Chad are illiterate, with those children who do go to school having around seventy children per teacher and classroom. As another Chadian remarked "The primary need that we would like to mention [ ... ] is the need for schools that are accessible to the entire rural population. There are not any schools on the north bank of the Chari River. Only those who live in Kokaga or in Sarh can send their children to school. This situation leads to the displacement of the Tounia to urban centres." And it is to those urban centre's like the country's capital N'Djamena that many people in Chad turn, if nothing else, than for safety. Agriculture is the main economy of Chad, although oil is now becoming an export. The country is heavily reliant of foreign aid for survival. In additional to ongoing conflict, particularly in the Islamic leaning north of the country the people of Chad also face natural hazards including hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds, again in the north and regular droughts along with locust invasions.

This video of Chad shows its people at work, play and going about their daily lives. It is not shown to demonstrate that maybe life in Chad isn't so bad after all for it is, but to exemplify how people, however poor and facing limited life opportunities can smile in the face of adversity and make the most of what they have.


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