Teachers in the Desert


Aziza Souleyman Mahamet is a 40-year-old mother of three who is a refugee living in Djabal camp, Chad. Having been attacked by the Janjaweed fighters in West Darfur, her family walked for seven days to reach the Chadian border. They lived there for several months until the UNHCR found them and brought them to Djabal camp.

Luckily for Aziza, the UNHCR was looking for people to teach the numerous children living in the camp. She knew how to read and write, and after a training, became a teacher. Now she is one of the few refugees making a small living. Aziza is passionate about her job, pushing her students to study. Most of them have not forgotten their escape from Darfur, many having seen their parents being murdered. Under those circumstances it is difficult to explain to them to stay in school and learn.

Thankfully, various psycho-social programs in the camp have provided counselling to many children, helping them focus better in class. But Aziza knows that she is teaching under very difficult conditions. Usually the kids are studying while sitting in the sand, one book being shared by three students. Also the harsh weather in eastern Chad is not helping. Sandstorms and the rainy season can discourage the most dedicated pupils.

Nonetheless Aziza keeps going. She thinks about the future, she thinks about the time when her students will be able to go back to Darfur. They will have these skills, reading and writing, that will help them rebuild the region. That’s why Aziza is adamant and keeps telling parents to send their kids to school. She knows how a difference in someone’ s life reading and writing can make. Via ninemillions.org

Update: I found a great post about Darfur refugees by Ola at I Run For Life!

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