The conflicts in Darfur, Eastern Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) have caused the displacement of thousands of people. Chad is now hosting over 377’480 Sudanese refugees from Darfur and 100’000 from CAR, mostly in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country. Over 25% of this population are young people, of which only 5.5% have access to a secondary education. In this setting, RET International provides access to quality formal and non-formal secondary education to young people in Chadian refugee camps. RET complements this through language, life skills and scholarship programmes, all which have allowed young refugees to have hope, an education and a possibility to become positive actors of their communities.
The Crisis Affecting Chad
Its Impact on Young People
How RET Protects Them
1. The Crisis Affecting Chad
Since 2003, the conflict in Darfur has been a major source of instability for Chad and the region. The violence originated in Western Sudan, but rapidly extended beyond the Sudanese border into Eastern Chad and the Central African Republic.
This conflict resulted in the displacement of thousands of Sudanese and Central Africans to Chad. These refugees are, however, part of a broader displacement issue, which includes Chadian internally displaced people (IDPs) having fled the internal armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence over land and resources and attacks by bandits against civilians. Chadian returnees from Libya and Nigeria are also to be taken into account and the simmering violence in the Central African Republic are presenting new challenges to this already fragile country.
In June 2015, UNHCR estimated that Chad was hosting 473’523 refugees. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates that there are about 90’000 IDPs. Most of these populations found refuge in Ouaddai and Sila in the East or in the Southern regions. Both Sudanese and Central African refugees are relocated in camps, but there are also settlements and communities in Southern Chad that are impacted.
2. Its Impact on Young People
Across the 12 camps in Eastern Chad, young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years make up 28% of the camps’ total population; however, only 5,5% of primary students have access to secondary education, according to the Education Cluster (a formal forum for coordination and collaboration on education in emergencies bringing together NGOs, UN agencies, academics, and other partners).
Not having the daily activities and hope brought by regular school attendance condemns many adolescents and youth in camps to be vulnerable to criminality, recruitment into armed groups or early marriages. Furthermore, not having access to the development of positive life skills brings forward health risks such as teenage pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections and HIV related health problems.
3. How RET Protects Them
In order to build young people’s capacity and self-reliance, RET, since 2005, has provided access to formal and non-formal education within 12 refugee camps in Eastern Chad. During this last decade the results have been significant; 28’141 refugee youths have benefited from accredited secondary education through grades 9, 10 and 11. Language courses, literacy, numeracy and life skills programmes complement this formal education.
Among all the young people who have taken part in RET’s programme, 2’548 have successfully passed their grade 11 exams and, thus, received an accredited end-of-secondary school diploma. Many were, then, enrolled in different universities and institutes of Sudan and Chad to further continue their studies. Also, since 2012, RET manages scholarships for 50 refugee students from Sudan and the Central African Republic in universities and institutes of Chad.