Children in Chad

Life is tough for children in Chad. Most have grown up knowing violence and social instability, four out of five can't read (rising to nearly 90% for girls), most don't have access to safe water and for the vast majority electricity is unknown (only an estimated 1-1.5% of the country's population has access to electricity). Children in Chad, in the main, live in abject poverty with Chad considered the seventh poorest country in the world with 80% of its population living below the poverty line. Most of the population of Chad, who number 17.72 million (2022), live in abject poverty with Chad in 189th place out of 191 countries and territories in 2021 as ranked by the HDI (Human Development Index) measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank which is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country.

Thousands have either been abducted to become child soldiers or have voluntarily take up arms to fight for a better future in a land where there often seems no future at all. As one twelve year old boy stated "I entered the 'army' by myself. Neither my mother nor father, or anyone else asked me to join. I saw the situation in which we were living - it was very hard. I entered the army to deal with the aggression we were suffering in my territory." Cont/...

Children Living in Chad
Children in Chad

Children in Chad

Children in Chad

Children in Chad

Children in Chad


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Chad Boy

Chad Children Playing

Children in Chad

Children in Chad know that it is unlikely that they will grow old with a life expectancy of 52.52 years (2021) and, should they have children themselves, over 10% will die before their fifth birthday. Worse still, Chad is known as a source of child trafficking both internally ~ where they are used as domestic slaves, as beggars, as cattle herders or to help the fishermen ~ and also externally to countries such as Cameroon and the Central African Republic for similar tasks as well as sexual exploitation. There are also many refugee children within Chad. At the end of 2018 the country was home to a total 659,326 displaced persons, refugees and internally displaced persons affected by the crises in Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

Despite all of this, life goes on for children in Chad. They typically live in round homes made of dried clay bricks mixed with a cone-shaped roof also made of straw (above). They rise at around 6am with a breakfast often made from millet paste left over from the night before mixed with milk. After breakfast, it's time for children in Chad to undertake their daily chores. Boys will shepherd the family goats and cattle when younger then, when older, help their fathers in the fields with sowing or harvesting. Girls undertake household duties and help take care of younger brothers and sisters, with most Chadian women having 5.65 children (2019), as well as fetching water from the local source. After this work, with the smell of smoke from the household fire still fresh in their nostrils, it's a walk to the nearest village school made of clay walls with a tin roof with classrooms of one teacher with around seventy other pupils. Education for children in Chad is compulsory between ages 6 and 12 with primary education lasting for six years. At the end of this period, the 'Certificat d'Etudes Primaires' determines whether students are promoted to secondary school or go to technical or vocational school instead.

Those who are successful in their exam can then attend seven years of secondary education between the ages of 12-19 culminating in the 'Baccalaureat de l'Enseignement Superieur'. The first six years of education is technically free, however ever as, parents are expected to pay for materials and even teacher salaries so when after the first three or so years pass and what state subsidies there are dry up, most children also drop out of school with the most recent figures from 2019 suggesting just 20.56% of children in Chad attend secondary school and they are often the sons and daughters of wealthier city dwellers. (For comparative purposes, the world average in the same year was 79.52% enrollment.). Those who do stay often just receive a basic education of learning to read and write, but some teachers also provide lessons in maths, science, history and geography. On returning home and after more chores, most children in Chad will have a bit of spare time for football or other games such as skipping or hopscotch. By 6pm the sun is setting and it's time for an evening meal of millet paste with sauce then bed by 8pm ready for another day. The video above shows aspects of life in Chad together with projects and programs supporting children in the country.


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