By Cindy Cao
Feiganazoui Merveille is a young girl from the Central African Republic (CAR) who fled the horror of war. She arrived as an unaccompanied child and now lives alongside other refugees and Chadian returnees.
While other 14-years-old girls learn, plan and grow, Merveille had a different fate. She was only 14 when she saw her parents shot dead.
« It was 3am when the attacks started and I ran to school. At around 3pm, there were further attacks and my parents died. They were fleeing when they were shot. I saw them. They were behind me, » says Merveille with a placid tone. « Then I saw a truck from the Chadian Government. I didn’t have any time to think about it, I just jumped into it. My brothers and sisters stayed in Bossangoa. Since then I don’t have any news from my family. »
The recent conflict in CAR has affected Chad more than any other neighboring country. It was the main recipient of an influx of refugees and Chadians returnees who were living in CAR for generations. This displacement placed significant pressure on basic social services as well as the highly vulnerable host communities.
With support from the European Union and through the Instrument for Stability and Peace Building, five UN agencies (UNICEF, FAO, UNHCR, IOM, WFP) are involved in several regions to improve the living conditions of refugees, returnees and host communities in southern Chad.
Teaching for peace
« I live alone in a tent on a site, » says Merveille. « I’m happy because this site is safe. I want to stay here until there will be peace in CAR. » Here, Merveille has access to health services. « A month ago, I was sick and I went to the health center. I got a consultation and received medication. «
The girl is looking forward to a peaceful future. Education will play a central role in any progress. « I go to school on the site and I’m CM2. Later, I hope to become a teacher to be able to give advice to children and promote peace. I will organize football games with children to promote team spirit. We are all brothers and sisters, you must not fight. You have to play together. »