A New Beginning for Solange in Blatram: Her Journey from Forced Displacement to Aspiring Footballer in Chad

December 18, 2023

Solange, a 32-year-old from Kassalare in the Hadjer Lamis region of Chad, has experienced a transformative journey from being a farmer and trader to becoming an aspiring footballer. 

In June 2021, her village was facing constant attacks from armed groups, leading to fear-inducing incidents of murders, kidnappings and livestock theft. Solange and her family fled the relentless danger, abandoning their farms and properties and embarking on a challenging 28-kilometre journey to Baltram.

Since 2021, Baltram, a small town in the Karal canton, has generously welcomed 1,756 displaced persons, including 443 women and 879 youth and children, primarily from conflict-affected areas such as Kassalare, Roumaye and Tamouraye in the Hadjer-Lamis province.

Initially, the displaced population faced challenges in being accepted by their host community and resuming agricultural activities, particularly considering the significant value placed on land in these conflict-affected regions. In response, the Chadian government, through the Regional Stabilization Facility, initiated various projects to facilitate the displaced population’s integration.

“Leaving our home was an extremely difficult decision, but fortunately, in Baltram, we felt very welcomed and accepted. We received land and agricultural equipment to help restart our farming activities. Today, I can cultivate corn and some rice, regaining a semblance of the normal life I had in Kassalare. I also have access to a small school, which was not the case in Kassalare.”
Solange, a 32-year-old from Kassalare in the Hadjer Lamis region of Chad

Integration efforts extended beyond livelihood support to social activities that promoted unity. Solange shared, “Workshops on conflict prevention were organized, along with social activities to bring people together, such as football matches between host communities and displaced persons. When invited to join the team, I immediately accepted as it was an opportunity to foster positive exchanges with our host community. It was my first time playing football; usually, it’s the boys who play. Through football, I felt we were becoming a team, and it was amazing. I even became the captain and won several tournaments.”

Solange and her team’s success earned them recognition from Hadjer Lamis regional authorities. She concludes, “It gives me hope for a better future, not just for me but for our entire community.”

Regional Stabilization Facility in Baltram, Chad

Through the Regional Stabilization Facility, the Chadian government supports displaced persons and host communities in Hadjer-Lamis province, particularly in Baltram and Maloumri.

The Facility’s goals include encouraging social integration and cohesion, focusing on the active participation of displaced persons and host communities, with special attention to youth and women.

Local authorities, including prefects, subprefects, canton representatives, security force leaders and traditional authorities (boulamas), play a central role in the initiative. They receive training in conflict management and the prevention of gender-based violence. Additionally, local leaders participate in civil-military coordination workshops to strengthen their capacity to manage conflicts and promote stability. This comprehensive approach addresses displacement challenges and enhances collaboration and security within communities.

Key achievements of the Regional Stabilization Facility in Baltram since 2021:

  • Over 700 individuals have benefited from cash-for-work programmes and investments in livelihoods, including agricultural and fishing inputs.
  • 538 individuals, including 278 women, received cash grants.
  • 52 individuals, including four women, participated in civil-military dialogue training and awareness.
  • 55 individuals, including five women, underwent human rights and civilian protection training for security forces.
  • Health and education infrastructure has been constructed and renovated.