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Sudanese refugee children continue pursuing their dreams in Farchana refugee settlement in Chad


Sudanese refugee children continue pursuing their dreams in Farchana refugee settlement in Chad

Over 1,300 Sudanese uprooted children cling to their dreams through education. The Al Tadamoun primary school stands as a testament to their resilience, offering a beacon of hope amidst the harsh realities of refugee life.
1 May 2024
Isra attends her favorite science class.

Isra attends her favorite science class. She is one of the more than 1,300 Sudanese kids who attend Al Tadamoun school 6 days a week.

In June 2023, the conflict in El Geneina, Sudan, forced 13-year-old Isra and her family to seek refuge in Chad. Along with her parents, a nurse and a bank worker, and her seven siblings, Isra found a new home in the Farchana refugee camp. Here, amidst dust and despair, she discovered a lifeline in the Al Tadamoun primary school, established in October 2023, just weeks before her arrival.

Isra is not alone in her journey toward educational and personal recovery. Over 1,300 children, each carrying stories of displacement and dreams of a better future, attend Al Tadamoun six days a week. Starting at 6:00 AM each day, these students embrace a rigorous schedule filled with lessons that are punctuated by a breakfast break, reassembling resilience meal by meal, class by class.

Isra's typical school day involves early starts and diverse subjects. She explains: "We start at 6am then at around 9h30 we have a breakfast break. Then we have class again from 10h to 12h." Her enthusiasm for learning is palpable as she adds, "I am happy that I can go to school again." Her favorite subjects are science and math, crucial for her dream of becoming a doctor, a passion inspired by her mother. "My mother is a maternity nurse and she inspired me to become a doctor. So I love science and math which are very important for doctors. I also like history because I can learn what happened before," Isra shares with a bright smile.

The school, a makeshift arrangement of classrooms, some under trees due to a lack of infrastructure, offers more than basic education. It is a sanctuary where futures are forged. Subjects taught here range from Arabic, history, geography, and math to science, agriculture, English, Quran, and French. Despite the makeshift classrooms and the transient lifestyle, the students’ aspirations soar high—with dreams of becoming pilots, lawyers, and doctors.

Outdoor class under the tree

Outdoor class under the tree

Teachers like Fatima Mohammed Khamees, a former chemical engineer from Sudan, bring their expertise and passion to the classroom. Fatima, teaching math, science, and Arabic, is particularly keen on igniting a spark for science among her students, especially girls. She finds joy in the eager eyes of her students when they learn something new, reinforcing her commitment to teach even complex subjects like physics and chemistry at a primary level. "I can also teach physics and chemistry although these are advanced subjects for primary schoolers; whenever a student approaches me, I always give them everything I have," Fatima explains, her eyes lighting up with excitement.

The headmaster, Abdurashid Adam Mohammed, himself a refugee and former teacher from Darfur, underscores the importance of education as a means of preserving hope. "As soon as we arrived, we wanted the education for our children to restart so their hope for the future is not lost," says Abdurashid with determination. He and his teaching staff have undergone training on the Chadian curriculum, which, while similar to the Sudanese one, requires teaching multiple subjects, an adaptation they have embraced wholeheartedly.

As Isra excels in her favorite subjects of science and math, inspired by her mother and nurtured by her teachers, she remains a symbol of resilience and hope. Her bright smile and academic achievements belie the harshness of her circumstances, serving as a beacon to others in her community.

In Farchana, education is more than learning; it’s an act of defiance against the disruption of lives and dreams. It’s a promise to over 1,300 children that even in the face of adversity, their aspirations are valid and achievable. As they navigate their lessons under the Chadian sun, these young refugees are not just preserving their past—they are actively crafting a future of possibilities.