In August, we reported on the success of our school fees support program in Chad which in cooperation with our longtime partner, Hope International Foundation (HIF), headquartered in Cameroon, was making it possible for 183 underprivileged children and youth (99 males and 84 females) to realize their dreams of attending school.
This month, we are pleased to report that thanks to the generous supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® that number has increased by more than 100 students for the current academic year to 287 (153 females and 124 males) in the rural Chadian villages of Lolo and Dobiti.
And, as unbelievable as it sounds, the cost to send a student to school in Chad through our school fees support program is just $30.75 for the entire school year!
As HIF founder and director Esther Ndichafah notes, that our joint long-term goal for these deserving children and youth is to provide the funding assistance to enable them to at least complete their secondary school education, with the possibility of continuing support for those who wish to attend university or a trade school “so they can become positive pillars in society.”
Obtaining an education, Esther adds, will ensure the beneficiaries “become gainfully self-reliant, as we have already achieved – and looking forward to many more others.”
Ultimately, it’s an “investment in young people who will become resourceful persons to society and multiply a similar impact in the lives of others in the future.”
Through a careful vetting process with recommendations from teachers and community leaders, the education support program not only pays the full tuition for orphaned, vulnerable and destitute children, the program also covers the costs of examination fees, mandatory school uniforms and school supplies – all of which would be a hindrance that would prevent them from being able to attend classes, even with their school fees paid in full.
The Republic of Chad, with a population of more than 18.5 million people, is among the poorest on the planet with a per capita annual GDP of just $1,400, which amounts to about $3.85 per day in a country where the life expectancy for men is less than 58 years and less than 62 years for women.
And, if things weren’t bad enough in the country already, in August the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations issued a GIEWS (Global Information and Early Warning System) on food and agriculture for Chad reporting that “Prices of coarse grains (such as locally-produced maize and sorghum) higher year-on-year” and “the elevated prices of coarse grains were mainly underpinned by high fuel prices as well as flood-induced crop losses in 2022, which reduced supply in local markets.”
In addition, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since the eruption of conflict in neighboring Sudan to the east in mid-2023, about 330,000 people have crossed the border to seek refuge in the country.
As the World Bank called in September for increased international support for refugees and host communities at the Chad-Sudan border World Bank managing director for operations Anna Bjerde stated as she visited refugee settlements:
“Chad remains one of the least developed countries in the world, and is further facing challenges of persistent poverty, climate change, food insecurity, and fragility.
In July, Esther reported that thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® the program’s overall goals “to provide continuous educational support for destitute children and to promote self-reliance which is a long-term impact of this program are directly and indirectly being achieved through this grant support.”
While the vast majority of beneficiaries are primary and secondary school students, there are also a select few who Esther selects to continue their education in University.
Such is the case of Laure Pitimbaye who today is a student at the Université le Bon Berger in N’Djamena who lost her mother in a road accident in 2020 and whose father has been incapacitated for many years due to a prolonged illness and had been reliant on his wife for all his care.
“At this point, Laure lost all hope,” reported Esther. “One of her relatives took her to N’Djamena with the hope of furthering her education, but finally was not able to send her to school because of her own heavy responsibilities and priorities for her own children.
“Laure stayed at home for one year with no one to help her.”
However, little could Laure have known that help was on the way for her thanks to Esther and our generous supporters.
“When we went for our schools tour, we heard her story and she was enlisted into our school fees program as one of our first university beneficiaries,” Esther told us.
“Without this timely assistance, she would have continued to stay at home – and as is their culture – easily married off.”
Instead, “thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, she returned to school and has successfully passed all her coursework during her first two years. She is now completing her third and final year with hopes to become ‘’a nurse with a difference.”
According to the HIF representative in Chad who knows her and her family situation, and also monitors her academics, Laure’s dream of becoming a nurse is very strong and would have been completely dashed without this school program funded by Bread and Water for Africa®.
And in Laure’s of appreciation after completing her 2022-2023 academic year, she wrote:
“HIF and Bread and Water for Africa® completely changed my life, and I will work hard to give other destitute children opportunities someday”.