Schools rising from the dust in the Lake Chad Region
Bagasola – December 20, 2016. “This is the first time I go to school. There was none in my island. I heard about it but I never imagined that I could attend one day.” Bakoye Adam is a 12 years old girl living in the Bagasola, Lake Chad region. In 2015, because of the Boko Haram related violence, she had the flee the little island where she was born and raised. “Since we left our home, we don’t have many things to do here. We don’t farm of fish like before. One day, the headmaster came to visit my parents. It was easy to convince us to enroll in the new school,” she said, smiling.
In Chad, too many children are still denied their right to education because of factors they do not control, such as poverty, gender or geographical location. Quality education has the power to end intergenerational cycles of inequity and provide children like Bakoye with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life.
“We are many children in class but we all got school books, bags and pens. Last week, they’ve finally opened the water point of the school. Before, we had to go back home running and look for water during recess, it was really tiring.
The Kousseri Public School of Bagasola got a fresh boost thanks to Project of Revitalization of Basic Education in Chad (PREBAT) supported by Educate A Child. Dolgue Noel, 40, is the head master of the school where Bakoye studies: « The construction of 8 new classrooms and the distribution of learning materials prompted parents to massively enroll children in school. There is still more boys than girls but we continue to raise awareness to get out of school children to enroll,” he said, confident.
“It’s true that I am a bit old to be in Grade 1. Some children in my class are only 6 but I’m not the only one. For most of us, it’s our first time in school and we help each other, no matter the age,” said Bakoye “ Some of my neighbors don’t go to school. They think it’s too late for them. I told them that we should not miss the opportunity to learn,” she concludes before entering class again.
90% of Children displaced in the Lake Chad region have never accessed education before attending school in this conflict-affected zone. This influx of population has created additional pressure on basic social infrastructure, including schools.
In this challenging context, education is the most powerful equalizer of opportunity. It helps children realize their potential and contribute to their communities and mitigate risks. For conflict-affected children, school plays a crucial role in developing the skills that allow children to flourish later in life.
Started in 2013, the GPE-EAC co-funded project has gradually enhanced the intake capacity of 290 primary schools, through the construction and equipment of 1,324 classrooms making it possible for some 80,000 primary school children to study in an improved physical learning environment.