Azhar Vadi | Salaam Foundation | 26 April 2018
Fahme Yahya let out a sigh as she spoke to us on the border of Chad and the Central African Republic. It seemed as if she was throwing off the weight of the world, getting her voice heard, admitting to the vulnerability of women like her living in that part of the world, seemingly a million miles from the bling of first world existence.
As refugees living on the edges of dense mango forests in places like Gore and Maro, southern Chad, with mud homes, sand floors and leaved roofs, she along with thousands of others have become the forgotten people of the world.
They fled the CAR about five years ago as the violence in their country reached its peak, escaping the marauding gangs of the anti-Balaka, a group formed to fight the Seleka rebels who overthrew the government of then president, François Bozize.
The wrath of the anti-Balaka however turned towards the minority Muslim population of the CAR, revenge perhaps for the human rights violations carried out by the Seleka, that have left people traumatised for life.
The mass rape, cannibalism, destruction of life and property has driven at least 568 572 people out of their homes and into neighbouring countries according to UNHCR statistics. A further 687 398 are internally displaced.
But it’s the stories of the survivors of this mass pillaging that strikes the core of one’s heart. Now that the media attention has moved on to other “more important” world crisis, the people of the Central African Republic now living in Chad describe themselves as simply forgotten.
“I’m going to be quite frank,” Fahme told us on sitting under a simple shed in their dusty refugee camp. Our girls no longer want to stay with us. There is nothing here. Our children are starving and crying. If someone offers us even less than 500 Chadian Francs (less than $1) we will sleep with them.”
Other refugees complained of the lack of water as the boreholes dug by UN agencies have long since broken or dried up. “We have to walk for hours to just get to the water wells and return late in the day. Along the route we are approached by men wanting to take advantage of us.”
The suffering in the camps could almost be tasted. “We were people of the Quran. We would read it every Friday morning. Many of the attacks on our villages took place while were in mosques reading the Quran. Since we fled we have not been able to read the Quran. It brought peace to our heart. Can you help bring some Qurans for us to read and Islamic history and jurisprudence books to help us teach our children,” Hassen Saeed, a refugee in the Danamaja camp near Gore told us.
They also asked for food and basic supplies to complement the meager rations they receive from the World Food Programme.
Salaam Foundation aims to assist in the following manner and is calling on you to support the campaign to help the forgotten refugees of the Central African Republic now in Chad.
Feed a family for of approximately 8 people for R170 per day.
Sponsor a parcel of 50kg rice, 50kg flour, 50kg oil, 50kg sugar, 50kg Spaghetti and 25kg cereal for R5000 (Lillah/Zakat).
Sponsor a borehole for R60 000 (Lillah/Sadaqa Jariya).
Sponsor R100 towards a Quran (Lillah/Sadaqa Jariya).
Sponsor R1500 for a complete set of Islamic books (Lillah/Sadaqa Jariya).
Account: Salaam Foundation
Account no: 62669147665
Reference: Chad water/quran/food/books (lillah/zakaat).
Salaam Foundation is a registered non-profit company (Registration no: 2016/164270/08) with a 100% Zakat donor policy.