Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Desperate For School


 Some 40,900 children and thousands more youths displaced by the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) are stuck in transit camps in southern Chad with no formal school to attend, few to no training opportunities, and no jobs, leaving them with no sense of what the future will bring.

“There is nothing to do here - we do nothing all day,” said Ibrahim Oumar, 25, in Doyaba transit camp near Sarh, which houses mainly Chadian returnees from CAR, many of them born in CAR. Oumar studied finance at college. “I’d do anything I could work-wise. One day I’ll return [to Bangui] to finish.”

Abdou Aziz Tarik, 17, from the CAR capital Bangui, told IRIN: “With school you can do something. Without it you’ll achieve nothing.”

Displaced teachers have set up informal schools in some sites. For instance, in Doyaba transit camp, they set up a school in which 3,200 primary and pre-school children have enrolled. But none cater for the needs of secondary school students. Some 4,000 of the displaced children have been relocated to pre-existing schools but as yet no children are being formally educated in camps, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Some 97,000 refugees and returnees have fled CAR over 2013 and 2014 seeking safety in Chad, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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