The people of Chad, who number 16.43 million (2020), are made up from a number of ethnic groups with the Sara making up 27.7% of the population, Arab 12.3%, Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%, Kanem-Bornou 9%, Ouaddai 8.7%, Hadjarai 6.7%, Tandjile 6.5%, Gorane 6.3%, Fitri-Batha 4.7%, other 6.4%, and an 'unknown' 0.3%. The country is predominantly (moderate) Muslim. Daily life in Chad, where life expectancy at birth is just 54.24 years (2019), is one of abject poverty with the country in 187th place out of 189 countries and territories in 2019 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards. Close to 63% of Chadians live in poverty with most of this poverty concentrated in rural areas, where 87% of the country's population live. Acccording to UNICEF, only 43% of the population has access to basic drinking water services while just 10% have access to proper santitation facilities. Many who do have some access to water are normally reliant on water wells, many of which were built in the 1960s.
Others, despite living close to rivers, report, "the primary need that we have, it's the need for wells in the villages. Although we live along the Chari River, we find that the water we draw from the river makes us sick. Especially between the months of March and May, when the river dries up a bit, diarrhoea spreads in the region, and causes many deaths. Water is essential to life, but if the water source is polluted, this puts our entire population in danger, especially the children." Indeed healthcare provision is almost non existent for the people of Chad, along with an absence of any social security program in the country. As one Chadian noted, "the most common medical problems that the people of my region experience are these: snake and scorpion bites, malaria, diarrhoea and dysentery, meningitis, conjunctivitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, and hernias." Health outcomes for children in Chad are poor, with one out of every six children dying before the age of five because of disease and malnutrition impeded further by limited accessibility to child healthcare services such as immunisation, ante and post-natal care.
Very few people in Chad have access to electricity; running at an estimated 10%, dropping to just 1% in rural areas, meaning Chad has one of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world. Most Chadians burn wood and animal manure for power. People, especially in rural areas, live with their extended families in 'compounds' comprising many traditional huts although, more recently, some brick buildings are being developed. A typical Chad rural scene would comprise an unpaved road full of animals, motos, bicycles and people mixed together with little shacks by the 'roadside' operating as 'corner' stores ~ Chad has 20,753 miles of roads of which only 166 miles are paved. Educational outcomes are also poor for the people of Chad with four out of every five people in Chad are illiterate, with those children who do go to school having around seventy children per teacher and classroom. As another Chadian remarked, "The primary need that we would like to mention [ ... ] is the need for schools that are accessible to the entire rural population. There are not any schools on the north bank of the Chari River. Only those who live in Kokaga or in Sarh can send their children to school. This situation leads to the displacement of the Tounia to urban centres." And it is to those urban centre's like the country's capital N'Djamena, that many people in Chad turn, if nothing else, than for safety.
Agriculture is the main economy of Chad, although oil is now becoming an export. The country is heavily reliant of foreign aid for survival. In additional to ongoing conflict, particularly in the Islamic leaning north of the country the people of Chad also face natural hazards;including hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds, again in the north and regular droughts along with locust invasions. The video of Chad (below)shows its people at work, play and going about their daily lives. It is not shown to demonstrate that maybe life in Chad isn't so bad after all for it is, but to exemplify how people, however poor and facing limited life opportunities can smile in the face of adversity and make the most of what they have.
Life in Chad: Volunteer in Chad
Life in Chad: Children in Chad
Life in Chad: Child Sponsor Chad
Life in Chad: Chad Country Profile
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