Chad: Education and the Opportunity to Excel

11 March 2020

JRS/USA's Executive Director, Joan Rosenhauer sitting with Chad iAct Little Ripples Director, Aicha. (Jesuit Refugee Service)
A child that has an education, has an opportunity to excel.
Aicha, Director of iACT Little Ripples in Chad

Aicha feels that she’s blessed to have the opportunity to work with young children every day and be an influence on their bright futures. Aicha has a passion for education since childhood – even though her opportunities for education were limited both in her native Sudan, and as a refugee in Chad.

By the time Aicha reached her teenage years, her parents began searching for a husband to marry her. She was forced to marry a man in her community against her will at 15 years old. A written agreement was signed between both families that was supposed to allow Aicha to complete her studies, but her husband didn’t want to abide by it. She fought hard to stay in school. 17 days into her marriage, Aicha took her final exams pregnant with her first child. She failed the first time but passed the second time with hopes that she would be able to continue her schooling. Unfortunately, Aicha’s husband didn’t permit her further her education. Instead he brought more turmoil to her life.

Soon after, Aicha moved in with her husband and the physical abuse began. He eventually filed for divorce, and Aicha was left with no rights to anything inside the home. She returned to her mother’s home empty-handed, with only the clothes she was wearing. To support herself and her three children, Aicha and her mother opened a restaurant, where she worked as a waitress.

Aicha used the majority of her money she made waitressing to send her children to school. “It’s very important for me to ensure that my daughters are educated. With education, there comes financial benefits and work opportunities. Even at home, an educated woman can accompany her children, ensure they maintain healthy lifestyles, and behave positively with others.” Aicha has openly shared her hardships with her children, to encourage them to remain in school and achieve their dreams. She tells them of the terrifying days she spent in a Sudanese refugee camp in 2010, before she fled to Chad to escape the violent army and their constant attacks.

It’s very important for me to ensure that my daughters are educated. With education, there comes financial benefits and work opportunities. Even at home, an educated woman can accompany her children, ensure they maintain healthy lifestyles, and behave positively with others.

Soon after she arrived in Chad, Aicha encountered JRS in a Chad refugee camp and received a teacher training scholarship to become a pre-school teacher. In addition to receiving educational training through JRS, she also learned computer literacy, French, and English. Aicha’s daughters also received assistance from JRS to further their education. Being an educated woman has led the way for Aicha, as she’s overcome many trials and tribulations to become the Director of iACT Little Ripples in Chad overseeing three centers. Every day Aicha oversees the early childhood development program, empowering refugee children, and comforting communities affected by humanitarian issues by providing the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development to children ages three to five. Aicha is a shining example to her children and those she serves that – anything is possible when you don’t give up on pursuing your dreams. “I am glad I can help my society develop and thrive.”

Learn more about the iACT Little Ripples program here.

I am glad I can help my society develop and thrive.

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