Darfur Athlete Profile: Farha, 14
Refugee in Camp Oure Cassoni
Her Story and family
Farha father was killed during the attack that destroyed her village. Sudanese government helicopters and planes broke the silence right at dawn, swooping in, dropping bombs and shooting bullets. Then the Janjaweed rode in on camels and horseback, burning everything that can be burnt, killing men and boys, and brutalizing women and girls. Government soldiers shot at villagers fleeing the attack. Farha, her mother, and her three sisters walked twenty-five days across the desert to make it to the refugee camp in Chad. On the day we met Farha, she and her sisters had not seen or heard from their mother in 41 days. The mother went back in to Darfur to look for a son that became separated during the attack.
There is not much to do in the refugee camps in Chad, many of the community development and “nonessential” services fled when insecurity reached Chad. But Farha and her sisters did manage to learn volleyball, and play when they get a chance, after their schooling and chores are done.
Life in the Camp
Young Farha is in charge of her home at the camp. She takes care of her three younger siblings; she collects firewood and cooks; she washes clothes and fetches water. Going out to collect firewood puts her at great risk of being raped, which happens frequently outside of the camps. She also goes to school every morning.
She would like to continue studying and become a teacher, but in a year there will be no more school for Farha, since school ends after the primary level at the camps. Farha told me that, on windy camp afternoons, she and her friends get together to tell stories about their village in Darfur, about the way life used to be. They keep telling the stories, until they weep.
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