Transcripton of Learning is Their Future – Darfuri Refugees in Eastern Chad

Posted by: Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program

Date: February 25, 2009

Narrator
Notepads and pencils – A reward for a years hard work for the top students at Javo refugee camp in Southeastern Chad. The prizes although small, are given to encourage the children to stay at school. Getting a good education is seen as a priority for these boys and girls, giving them the skills and knowledge to help rebuild Darfur when they finally return home.

Adam Djouma Youssouf, Director of the School (Narrator translates)
Education is the foundation on which society is built, it removes us from our state of ignorance, and shows us the light. We become enlightened, and can then fit well into society.

Narrator
More than 15,000 refugees are crowded into the camp, where there are three schools for over 3,000 children. The teachers are also refugees, and most of them have never taught before. Aziza was selected because she can read and write. The facilities may be better than in Darfur, but they are still far from ideal.

Aziza Souleyman Mahamet, Teacher (Narrator translates)
What we are missing most in our school is equipment, chairs, mats, textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. The teachers also earn very little.

Narrator
Many of the children have never been in a classroom before, and they relish the opportunity to study subjects such as Maths, English, Arabic, and Science.

Maria Chicitano, UNHCR Goz Beida (Narrator translates)
We have done a lot of work here, and the results bear that out. Nearly 90% of the children are in school, and we have of course achieved that also with the help of our partners on the ground.

Farihalh Mahamt Saleh, Student (Narrator translates)
Since I started school I’ve missed class perhaps only once. Otherwise, I never skip school.

Narrator
The girls are especially happy to attend school. Although, they do have to balance their education with the demands of their families.

Beina Ahmat Adam, Student (Narrator translates)
Everyday I go to school at 7 in the morning, and eat at mid-day. After school, I go to fetch water and then I do my homework.

Narrator
Beina and Farihalh are fortunate, they’re still in school. Many girls their age stop going when they reach 11 or 12 because they’re either married off or have too many household chores to do. Teenage boys targeted by rebel groups keen to recruit them can also be tempted to drop out of school. But despite the immense challenges they face, once they’ve got a taste for education, both boys and girls tend to aim high.

Beina Ahmat Adam, Student (Narrator translates)
I want to be a doctor or a teacher.

Zakaria Isshakh Souleiman, Student (Narrator translates)
After I finish school and have my certificates, I want to get a job. I would like one day to be the Minister of Home Affairs.

Farihalh Mahamt Saleh, Student (Narrator translates)
My big ambition is to one day become a Minister in the government.

Narrator
While it may be a long time before they can fulfill these ambitions, at least the possibility of going to school in Javo has brought them one step closer. Under the 9 million initiative, education in camps like Javo will be expanded to include secondary education.

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