April 8 2003
Laying the foundation stone in Chad
08/04/2003 - After ten years of negotiations an agreement was reached with the authorities from Chad's government enabling SOS Children's Villages to start helping the country's orphans. On 1 April, the foundation stone was laid in the capital city, N'Djamena, for the first SOS Children's Village.
Representatives from the Dutch SOS Children's Village Association - financer of the planned village in the N'djari suburb - and the local authorities were there for the first cut of the spade. Aristide Ramaciotti, responsible for SOS Children's Villages in the region, emphasises that "in view of the problems facing children in Chad, SOS Children's Village N'Djamena will be a real help."
Prime Minister Haroun Kabadi, who was paid an official visit by an SOS Children's Villages delegation, also underlined the urgent need for adequate facilities for looking after children: "A programme of action like that outlined by SOS Children's Villages will make a significant contribution to improving the situation of orphans and street-children." At a meeting with Chad's First Lady, Halimé Deby, SOS Children's Villages representatives were able to enlist further support for their request on behalf of suffering and needy children.
Chad is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. Because of the 30 year civil war - the consequences of which still affect country today - and recurring periods of drought, the social, economic and medical infrastructure of the country are at rock bottom. Thousands of children have become victims of the clashes, thousands have lost parents and in the capital N'Djamena alone, an estimated 5,000 children live on the streets.
Building an SOS Children's Village with capacity for 120 children is the first step towards long term improvement of the lot of abandoned and destitute children. Further plans include a kindergarten, primary school and socio-medical centre all of which should help give hundreds more children a chance in life.