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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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3 replies on “Darfur Athlete Profile: Farha, 14”
Thanks for sending us the update video from the camp. The heat seems stultifying.
I did notice a solar stove in one of your photos. Could you tell us more about whether these do indeed seem to be used and worthwhile for the refugees?
Also, perhaps you could let us know about income-generating activities. What can the refugees do to earn money? Is there any way to help them earn more?
As always, I admire what you and KTJ (and SGN) are doing. I hope you have a safe and productive trip.
The heat is pretty bad, and it was even worse yesterday. The solar stoves are new to Oure Cassoni, so women are just starting to be trained to use them. We received mixed reviews from the refugees. They want to be grateful, since they assume that we have something to do with them, given that we were asking about them. They said that they will use them at times. The more we stayed with them, they started to open up more and say that they really want their wood. The flavor, the practicality, it’s part of their way of life. Oure Cassoni is a rough place, so there needs to be a solution to this, and I think that it will be a complex solution, using different new approaches to this problem. The refugees seem open enough to try, but it’s not easy for them. Thanks for always following us! KTJ and I would love to come by and chat with you sometime!
We did come across 4 solar cookers on our first day and saw another one today from afar. We didn’t have Bouba, our trusted translator, with us yesterday so there was a lot, “This your?” “Aye” “Cook?” “Aye” “Aye” so not much info yet! But alas, we will be checking it out more. It looks like it’s a pilot project for now, as we haven’t seen too many, but we will return to the women who were shooing the children away from them to ask questions and send a message from JWW!
The women we talked to today didn’t have any income generating activities that they spoke to when we asked what they spend their time doing. But we did see another women weaving a basket (she was with the solar cooker group) and will go back and speak to her about it. Because of the insecurity situation, most all community development organizations have left both Chad and Darfur. Darfur Peace and Development have some great programs inside of Darfur, and I am hoping to work with them a bit more on trying to implement them here.
There is a market at this camp that we saw, so that might generate some income for families. Will investigate more!
Thanks for staying tuned!