A small village in Chad struggled for generations without basic necessities such as clean drinking water. But over the past few years, the community has started making fast progress to improve living conditions and escape poverty.
‘Makeuré looked like a fire that went out on its own,’ says Pafroumi, the chief of the village, reflecting on what life used to be like for his community.
The village was small and isolated, with few social activities or work opportunities. Children had to walk for miles to get to the nearest school and there was no access to clean water. As a result, parents often opted to not send their children to school at all, and many people were getting sick from drinking dirty water.Bringing the village together
A church had been in the village for several decades but was not involved in the community. When one of Tearfund’s local partners started working with the church, they encouraged the leaders to make improvements to the village with the input and cooperation of everyone.
Pafroumi, who is not a Christian, was pleasantly surprised when the church leaders approached him to discuss what could be done to improve the quality of life for the villagers.
Pafroumi and the church held three meetings with the entire village to openly discuss problems and how to solve them. Together, the villagers decided that they wanted to have their own school, health centre, and drinking water.
For the first project, every family contributed money to the costs of drilling a well. They made remarkable progress – within two months, the money was raised and the project completed.
‘Today, the whole population drinks drinking water, people wash themselves well and wear clean clothes. Our animals are also watered without difficulty,’ says Pafroumi.
The church then set up a school in the village, meaning that children were not forced to walk for long distances to receive an education. Today, the students are performing well, and the school is becoming increasingly popular with the villagers.
The church also offers training on different farming techniques, which has helped people cultivate their land, grow more crops, and support their families.
A united community
These changes have been life-changing for everyone in the village. Pafroumi also noticed a new sense of community spirit and unity, with people from different faiths working and socialising together.
‘These dramatic changes led me to inquire of the pastor as to why the church today is interested in us who are not Christians,’ says Pafroumi. ‘He told me that the church and community project [run by Tearfund’s local partner organisation] opened their eyes and taught them to love everyone as Jesus Christ did and changed the way they treated other people in the village.’