Voices from Chad: “My dream is to see my children educated”

January 18, 2020
Written by Tony Cuddihy

Ache dreams of something that many of us take for granted: to see her children educated.

Living in Chad, where she takes care of her little girl and her baby boy (2-year-old Maimouna and newborn Bahar) as well as her husband, Ache faces huge challenges to meet even the most basic needs of her family. Traveling far away to work to feed the family of four on a daily basis, life can be tough.

“I was malnourished when I was pregnant”

“When I wake up early in the morning, I prepare breakfast for myself, my children and my husband, and then I leave for the field,” she explains. “Because my field is so far away that it takes all day to get there, so I don’t get back until the evening to prepare dinner.”

Keeping her children healthy is her top priority, but this can be a struggle even during pregnancy. The lack of available food can leave women like Ache suffering from malnutrition. “I was malnourished when I was pregnant. Then, because I was breastfeeding my child, it meant I needed to be supported by Concern so that I could feed my child properly.”

Concern provided Ache with a special fortified flour used to improve her health and nutrition, and she is feeling much better since participating in our programs in the area. After working with Concern’s Community Health Volunteers, she has also learned the skills to combat malnutrition and look forward to a happy and healthy future for her and her family.

Ache, a 19-year-old mother of two, at home in Chad. Photo: Lucy Bloxham / Concern Worldwide.

Knowledge is power

“I learned that when you have a newborn baby you cannot give it any water, but only the breast exclusively for six months,” Ache recalls. She learned this information from our volunteers, who visit households on a monthly basis.

Ache says that the greatest benefit that she has received from our team of Community Health Volunteers has been information, and she has used this knowledge to make a better life for her and her family.

“With my first child, I didn’t practice exclusive breastfeeding, but now that I know the technique I will practice it with my new baby. There are differences between the two children because of this.”

Ache and little Maimouna in Chad. Photo: Lucy Bloxham / Concern Worldwide

Looking to the future

Ache’s first child, Maimouna, was frequently ill as a newborn, but Bahar is faring so much better as a result of the information received from our care groups. As well as receiving practical advice on feeding her family, Ache is also part of our seed distribution and is learning the new skills that she needs to make the best life possible.

“The seed distribution has helped us very much to grow more food. This has enabled me to feed my family and my children,” she adds.

While the immediate well-being and nutrition of her children remain Ache’s main concern on a day-to-day basis, she can now focus on long-term goals such as education. She wants both her son and daughter to thrive intellectually as well as physically and now that her family is healthy, she can see a bright future.

“When I’m alone, my daughter and I will continue chatting together. She makes me laugh a lot. She talks to me about lots of things and it always makes me laugh. We joke around together,” Ache says of this precious bonding time. “When she’s old enough, I will take her to school. My dream is to see my children educated.”

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