Watoto Read strives to understand the barriers to education facing children in refugee camps in Sub Sahara Africa. Presently, our work is focused in Goz Beida, Chad, which hosts one of the most protracted and forgotten refugee situations in the world. We are increasing access to education through the following:
One of the most urgent obstacles to primary education in the refugee camps is the lack of school buildings. Watoto Read is renovating dilapidated classrooms and building new classrooms in multiple camps in Goz Beida. These safe structures will enable children to get out of the harsh elements to learn, and will be close to where they live so that all children can walk to school. Parents are often reluctant to send their children to school if conditions are unsafe and unsanitary.
Watoto Read is working to build benches for school children living in refugee camps in Goz Beida, Chad. Currently, many classes are taught in unfurnished rooms, with children sitting on thin mats on the sandy dirt floor. Without benches or desks, not only are the children uncomfortable, but they don’t have a good writing surface, making it harder to learn.
Watoto Read is partnering with Days for Girls International to provide menstrual hygiene products to middle school girls. During a 2018 trip to Goz Beida, Chad, we learned that a disproportionate number of middle school girls stop attending school when they begin their menses. There are a number of reasons for this but two of the biggest include lack of adequate private facilities (bathrooms) and lack of supplies to manage their female hygiene needs.
Days for Girls has developed an ingenious patented kit that includes waterproof shields and absorbent liners which act as reusable feminine pads, plastic bags, underwear, soap, and washcloths. These are all provided in a discreet colorful drawstring bag. Each kit lasts for up to 3 years. These kits will help girls stay in school, build their confidence, inspire vital conversations around female health, leadership, and safety as well as preserve dignity…all through addressing periods.
Watoto Read develops partnerships with sewing groups to create the fabric kit components. If you would like more information on how you can help Watoto Read create kits, email Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watoto Read is presently working with JRS to explore possibilities for building a community center in refugee camps in Goz Beida, Chad. Watoto Read envisions the community center providing access to a number of additional educational needs identified by parents of the refugee children during the 2018 trip to Chad: a library, a science academy, a computer lab, and a sewing center.
There is presently no library or computer lab in the Goz Beida refugee camps, decreasing educational resources and ability to gain skills in technology. A computer lab would also increase access to post-secondary online vocational training and possible training in technology related fields.
Current curriculum, mandated by the Chadian government, includes no science education. Refugee parents expressed concern that lack of access to science education limits the possibility of these children pursuing careers in science based fields.
A sewing center would provide access to sewing machines and materials that could be used for vocational training for women to create goods that can be sold to generate income and improve self-reliance.