From nomad to refugee

Access to safe water in the Lake region of Chad is essential for children who have fled violence in the region

After fleeing violence Zara, 11, now accesses a better quality of water and is healthier. She’s also in school — a change from her past nomadic lifestyle, disrupted by the attack.


Before fleeing an attack by Boko Haram in July 2015, Zara and her family lived a nomadic life, moving through Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Now, Zara lives in Darnaim, a refugee camp in the Lake region of Chad where over 111,000 people have fled to escape violence in the region.

Speaking of the attack, Zara said,Sometimes I think about the attack and I remember the gunshots. I was scared in case I lost a member of my family. I also remember the long journey, I think we walked for five days to get to the camp.”

Before becoming a refugee, Zara had to walk for up to 3 hours to find water at a well.

“I had to wake up early in the morning to collect water. Now, with those water points close to our home, I can go to school on time and I am not too tired to attend.”

For Zara, another unintended consequence of becoming a refugee is access to education.

“Many nomad children would never have a chance of an education if they weren’t in the camp. Zara is a very talented girl, I hope she’ll continue school next year,” says Olivier Ngaroudal, teacher in Darnaim camp.
“The quality of the water is good and since we have arrived in the camp we rarely have stomach problems,” Zara notes.

Thanks to support from ECHO and DFID, UNICEF is working with partners to provide clean water and sanitation to more than 88,500 people in the Lake region of Chad.

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