Food Vouchers Help Feed Hungry in Chad

By Helen Blakesley

CRS runs a food program in this section of Chad which helps about 60,000 people. Photo by Katie Price/CRS

In one of the most remote places on Earth, a woman bends down to hitch a sack of millet onto her back. Fatime is 65 years old. She’s at the market in Minekrate, a village in the Wadi Fira region of Eastern Chad.

She’s walked here today. The sun is unrelenting and the temperatures are in the 100s. Scrubby trees dot the sandy ground. The air is dry as donkeys nibble what they can find. Fatime’s husband died five years ago, after a long illness. She now has 9 children in her care. She’s here today to get them some food.

The harvests were bad last year because good rains didn’t come. The year before wasn’t great either. Some days Fatime and the children eat five and a half pounds of millet between them. They make porridge and bread from it. Some days it’s half that. Two pounds of cereal between ten people.

But today Fatime has brought to market the food vouchers that CRS has given her. It’s part of the US government-funded Food For Peace project that’s at work in her region and in neighboring Ouaddai. CRS works hand-in-hand with the Chadian Catholic charity SECADEV to reach around ten thousand of the most struggling households.

Fatime uses her vouchers to choose the food her family needs. It will more than double the amount of millet they have. She also takes some oil to cook with. She’s hoping rains this year will mean she can grow a few onions and tomatoes and some millet of her own.

Things are still not easy. It’s still not much to live off. But it’s better than before.

Fatime thanks God that she has the children around her and that she now has help with putting food on the table.
“My hope lies with my God, the Creator. May He keep safe those who help us.”

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