Education is the key of life
“Education is the key of life, when you are educated, you can do anything. In my life I hope to study more and more, I have big goals for my education.”
Amal, 20, is originally from Sudan and is now a refugee living in Djabal camp in Chad. His dream is to go to university and study medicine. However, to support his large family he has chosen to study mechanics at a vocational training centre, supported by Jesuit Missions, with the hope that it can earn him some money quickly. He is also taking lessons in IT, French and English.
Chad features towards the bottom of global rankings for governance and human development and is classified as a ‘fragile state’. During the last fifteen years, Eastern Chad has become the home to over 300, 000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled conflict in their own country and have settled in thirteen camps across the border.
Supported by Jesuit Missions’ Christmas appeal in 2016, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Chad has been able to provide tertiary education to many students. Over 1000 students have been registered across three camps in the region, including many women and children. It is important to try and provide links between both communities to prevent any tensions that may arise between the host country and those settled there. Access to a combined education is one way of encouraging the integration of refugees into the local community.
“When a population moves to a place, due to emergency situations (and particularly after conflict), education is key to restoring child protection standards and promoting well-being, as well as restoring the community,”explains Nadezhna Castellano, JRS’s International Education Specialist.
Since 2014, the academic curriculum used in the refugee schools is the same as the standard Chadian curriculum used throughout the country.
“Curriculum represents communal and national identities. We study our geography, our language, and our history. When you have lost everything, sometimes education is the only heritage you can provide to your children,”
Nadezhna Castellano explains how there was some difficulty transitioning to the local curriculum from the Sudanese curriculum which the students and teachers had been previously used to.
Many of the students who are living in Djabal refugee camp, such as Amal, who are accessing the JRS tertiary education program hope that through their advanced education they will have more work opportunities which will enable them to leave Chad and perhaps go onto university.