Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
about Children in Chad
What is the role of girls in Chad in the biggest city?
They are more likely to be going to school in N'Djamena, the biggest
city of Chad. In addition, they may be selling vegetables,
fruits, flour in the market. They will also help their mothers take
care of their younger brothers or sisters, cook the meal and clean
the house. It all depends on their individual situation.
What is the role of girls in Chad in the smallest village?
In the village, they are more likely taking care of household
duties, helping their mothers take care of younger brothers and
sisters, fetching water from the local well... When younger,
they often help shepherd the family goats and cattle.
What is the role of boys in Chad in the biggest city?
They also go to school, and are more likely to go further on in
their studies. They also help their dads with whatever
business they are involved in, be it sales at the market or a desk
job somewhere. They might also begin a bicycle repair
business, a "convenience store".
What is the role of boys in Chad in the smallest village? They
will also help shepherd the family goats and cattle when younger.
They help in the work in the fields once they are older, be it the
sowing or the harvesting.
What do Chadian children do for fun? They like to play
football (which is called "soccer" in the US), hopscotch,
jump rope, read, dream and write letters.
What kind of chores do they do for their families? Sweeping
the courtyard with a straw hand broom, fetching water, taking care
of younger brothers and sisters, shepherding the family goats,
washing dishes in a large basin...
What is the average size family in the biggest city and smallest
village? Average size of a family, be it in the city or in the
village, is six to seven children, making a total of 8 to 9 direct
family members, not including cousins, nephews or nieces who may be
living with the more fortunate families who are not struggling
What kind of things do they learn in school? How much
schooling does the average Chadian child receive? They mostly
learn how to read, how to write and how to do math, but also
science, biology, geography, philosophy, history, and so on.
What traditions are practiced at various holidays like Christmas,
Independence Day, etc. Christmas: singing in church
through the night, skits, and a big meal. New clothes are the favoured
gift. Independence day: a day off from school, a time
for parades in major cities, dances of celebration... Ramadan's
Eid Al-Fitr: traditional meals served from house to
house, new clothes.
A Day in the Life of a Chadian Child: A Children’s
I will try to describe a typical day in the life of a
Chadian child. As the sun comes up, around 6 AM, mama
gets up to sweep the concession and start the fire to
cook breakfast. She takes millet paste from last
nights meal, and mixes it with milk to make a
breakfast cereal. Everyone starts to stir from their huts
at the smell of the smoke from the fire.
The children eat hurriedly to get to school on time.
They will walk to the school and back; no buses or
transportation here. The school is a one or two-room
rectangular building made of clay walls and a tin roof.
Children of all ages are grouped together; the one
teacher uses the schoolhouse method to teach the kids: as
he teaches one group, the other group is working on an
assignment. During recess, the kids play together and
When the kids get home from school, they help their
parents with the younger children, the cooking and the
housework. They rarely have any school homework, they are
so busy helping maman (Arabic=ammi) and papa
(Arabic=abbi). When the sun sets around 6 PM, they are
eating millet paste and sauce, usually in the
dark although their eyes are adjusted to the light
of the moon and stars. One or two hours after the sun has
set, they have probably gone to bed.
In describing a typical day in the life of a child in
Chad, of course I am leaving out the things that make
life exciting and pleasant. During the rainy season there
are no classes during times when the children are helping
their parents sow the millet seed and reap the harvest.
Once in a while there are village dances, celebrations,
hunts. Women in the neighbourhood sometimes argue out loud
right in the street, with everyone else listening in.
Young people fall in love, children are born, older
people die. I will leave it up to you to decide whether
or not life here is the same or different from life where