In DJAKO returnee site in Chad, young girls dream of a better future
After the violence in the Central African Republic in 2013, more than 60,000 people have found refuge in Chad. Among them are refugees but also returnees such as those of the site of DJAKO which are close to the 1,500 people.
As in most camps in emergency situations, DJAKO also has its realities in terms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), but the young girls who live there have taken charge of their lives and are struggling for a better future.
« I am against the marriage of children because before the age of 18, the body of the girl itself is not ready to endure a child. Moreover, for me the school is sacred, so every young girl must have the opportunity to continue schooling, whether in a refugee, returnee camp or elsewhere. » Fatoumata Zakaria, 15, Djako returnee site.
« Marriage is not for children. How can a girl who is also a child give birth to another child without complications during pregnancy or childbirth ? It’s impossible, that’s why I say NO to child marriage! « Fane Mahamat, 12, Djako returnee site.
« Caring for a baby is an art that only mature women can do. My mother always told me that marriage is not for children, so she allowed my older sisters to get married only after they all three got their majority. « Khalia Mahamat Nour, 17, Djako returnee site.
« The younger the girl is, the less she knows how to take care of her home and her children and she risks many health problems that can even cause her death, and if she dies, to whom the fault ? And Law N⁰. 029 is there to punish recalcitrant parents. » Hapsita Yakhoub, 16, Djako returnee site.
« For me, the most important thing for a girl is to continue with school to be a great lady tomorrow. A girl who is not old enough to marry will not even be able to care for her , still less of her baby, and put the life of the latter in danger (disease, malnutrition etc). « Nidjema Zakaria, 11, Djako returnee site.
Since the establishment of the camp, UNICEF and its partners have organized dozens of information sessions on combating child marriage by disseminating the Law N⁰ 029, which serves as a springboard to keep girls in school. Thanks to this, more than 200 girls in the returnee site of DJAKO have the opportunity to continue with their studies without worrying about anything else.
By DIGUERA Azoura