Change through training in Chad

Ahmad Ismail, a 46 year old teacher at the Darfur School in Treguine Camp - and himself a father of 11, was inspired by the benefits of Intercommunity Dialogue, during a Cord supported peace education project.

Led by the Moura Village Peace Committee, an extensive series of initiatives have been supported in a wide variety of subjects, including mediation, dialogue, education for girls and child protection. Cord supported projects have focussed on the transitional periods as the communities grow and develop - and the inevitable conflict that change brings.

He says, 'I lived in the refugee camp for almost a decade - and we all lived in harmony; there was social cohesion.' But Ahmad goes on to describe the transitional changes that have caused local conflict. 'Reduction of food, removal of the pay book for treatment at the health centre and the school transition that happened this year have all been the real cause of problems in the community.'

He goes on to explain how the Cord Intercommunity Dialogue helped to change things. 'Suddenly, we understood that the transition did not come from us - no refugee was responsible for the change. So, if it did not come from us, what good is it to quarrel and get angry with one another?''Suddenly, we understood that the transition did not come from us - no refugee was responsible for the change. So, if it did not come from us, what good is it to quarrel and get angry with one another?'

Life changing realisation

Ahmad describes how tensions dropped and how community harmony began to be restored. He also has his mind firmly fixed on the future, 'We have been supported for more than ten years. We will not always be the responsibility of humanitarians - we must support ourselves.'
'We will not always be the responsibility of humanitarians - we must support ourselves.'
Understanding refugee camps

This forward thinking attitude is typical of the resolute approach that we have always seen in the Chadian refugee camps. Change is a difficult concept for societies and individuals alike - but when living in a disconnected microcosm, such as a refugee camp, anything that alters can be amplified and cause real tension. But it's all a matter of perspective - and training and dialogue support have ensured that natural and uncontrollable changes in life can be handled co-operatively, without blame, and seen as a natural ongoing part of the development of society.