view all campaigns

Campaign Stories
  Accompaniment and Love put Mercy in Motion
  Ambitious new resources needed for education in emergencies
  Audio: Higher education for refugees enables change for good in Eastern Africa
  Cambodia: Creating change through education
  Chad: Darfur refugees find hope in education
  Chad: education for refugee girls from Sudan, between obstacles and hope
  Chad: Investing in girls education
  Chad: Promoting girls education through theater
  Educate a refugee: “Let children be children”
  Education is the way forward in Myanmar
  Graduates at Kakuma refugee camp celebrate hope
  Higher ed program begins in Thailand refugee camp
  Higher education, vocational training are key to improving refugee lives
  Inspired by his father, enabled by his education
  Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins
  Jordan: online education boosts refugees' skills
  JRS Afghanistan expands education opportunities for girls
  JRS offers lifeline for renewed hope, says former refugee
  Kenya: 'No tragedy can kill hope'
  Kenya: Pioneer graduation ceremony in Kakuma
  Kenya: the dream has finally become a reality
  Kenya: university grads redefine their futures
  Kindling hope through learning (video)
  Lebanon: xenophobia against Syrians in public schools
  Malawi: refugee education creates community leaders
  Malawi: Vocational education provides independence
  Peace through Education in Southern Sudan
  Promoting education in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  Refugee completes long journey to become medical doctor
  Refugee graduates in Kenya & Malawi work, study and serve their communities
  South Sudan: education in response to a grave emergency
  South Sudan: learning in emergencies
  Sri Lanka: online education helps youth overcome obstacles and focus on brighter futures
  Teacher training in context
  Three schools rise in rural Haiti
  Turkey: integrating refugee children into public schools
  Uganda: early childhood education encourages integration
  Uganda: integration opportunities rebuild lives
  Video: Education is hope for refugees
Connect with us
Grace and her children attend a Jesuit Refugee Service school in Djabal refugee camp in Chad. (Joseph Thera — Jesuit Refugee Service)

(Goz Beida, Chad) October 25, 2016 – Grace*, a Sudanese refugee woman and a single mother of six children living in Djabal refugee camp outside this town in Chad, has struggled for an education and a better life. When violence broke out in her village, Grace and her family were forced to flee. 

She lost her husband in Sudan and during their flight she was separated from her children. She reunited with them later near the Chadian border, and together they reached safety in Djabal.

Starting over in Chad was not easy. At first Grace remarried and had two more children, but she soon found herself divorced and on her own supporting six children. 

When most would have given up in despair, Grace chose to cling to the one thing that gave her hope: education. She and all of her children enrolled in a Jesuit Refugee Service school in Djabal refugee camp. With no education at all prior to the camp, she was able to work hard and reach grade six. 

Grace is trying her best to provide for her children. She washes clothes or plasters walls in ongoing projects in the city. Unfortunately, she suffers from headaches that prevent her from performing heavy work or working in the sun. She is unable to work after school when there is still daylight, so her children have to look for hay in the mountains or herbs to sell in the town to help get some money for their evening meal.

Her daughter Khadija works in the fields during the harvest to earn a little food as wages. During recess at school when they don't have food, she gathers her children together behind the classrooms so that they don't see others eating. 

Further exacerbating the situation, her PAM card — a UNHCR identity card given to all refugees that allows them to obtain food and other humanitarian supplies — categorizes her as a person with lesser needs. She therefore receives insufficient food rations for her family. 

The question of Grace and her family's resettlement remains unanswered. She cannot go back home because the conflict in Darfur continues to this day. Since it first flared up in 2003, close to half a million lives have been lost and an estimated 2.6 million people displaced. 

As recently as September 2016, Amnesty International reported that the Sudanese government had launched chemical weapon attacks on civilian populations in Darfur, killing at least 250 people. The majority of the victims were children. Until the conflict there is resolved, it would be unsafe for her and her children to go back home.

Grace continues with the daily struggle of pursuing her studies and raising her children by herself. Her dream is to one day finish school and become a nurse so that she can help people in distress. She chooses to focus on the future, and not on what she has lost but on what she can achieve for herself and her children. She believes that education is what will improve their living conditions in the long run.

Grace's story represents the daily struggle that many refugees, especially refugee women, have to go through in pursuit of a better future. Refugees must have tenacity, hope and perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds to get what many take for granted: an education.

It is people like Grace that embolden our resolve at JRS to continue the work of accompanying, serving and advocating for the rights of all refugees to an education. 

In the words of JRS international director Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, "Every human being has the right to education, and refugees and displaced people, perhaps more than others, need access to this right more than ever. Without education, the cycle of violence and displacement is difficult to break."

Claudine Nana, Alkhali and Elysée, JRS Chad
Antony Mukui, JRS International Office

*Name has been changed for reasons of security 

You can support JRS education programs in Chad and around the world. Click here to make a secure online donation today.


Countries Related to this Region
Canada, United States of America