Chad: The story of one woman who will stop at nothing to uplift her community

My name is Latifa Hissen and I am a chef de carree, the lead of my district. I live in Diguel Ngabo in Chad, with my family of four children. After a difficult relationship with my husband, I struggled to find the belief to invest in myself. So after his death, I was faced with a situation where I had to find the courage to take responsibility for my family and become independent. This guided me in my aim to become an inspiration for other women in my community.

My aim in life is to improve my community’s livelihood. I am inspired by my people every day, hearing their stories has given me the courage to help people with new projects, and sensitisation workshops on critical issues. I underwent training at a French hospital called BASE in Ndjamena on health issues of HIV, Tuberculosis, Cholera and breast feeding. With my new-found knowledge, I began to deliver weekly group meetings for women in the community. Everyone is invited to attend, devoid of status or ability. We discuss topics of gender-based violence, pregnancy, health care and where possible, we provide support for their families. Many women have come to me seeking help as they suffer domestic violence at home. For widows, I try to help the registration process for their children to receive sponsorship or support from non-state actors to help uplift their lives.

When I look back at my journey, one story comes to mind of a young woman, Fannie Mahamat, who was having many difficulties with her husband. He gave her 1000 XAF (approx. 1.5$) a day to provide for their whole household (including their five children). She came to me, looking for support for a divorce, as she was not able to cope up with the situation. Together, we came up with a solution, I gave her 25,000 XAF (30 $) to sell some food locally in order to cultivate a new source of income. She is still with her husband and now they work together to provide for the family. She is independent and happy to have her own business selling vegetables at the market. Their live has improved dramatically.

I terms of economic empowerment, I developed a small project last year to clean our district’s main roads. 1,000 women were recruited, and the employment opportunity helped them to earn 30$ every 20 days. This had a significant impact on their income and helped them meet the basic needs of their families.

To boost greater access to education for orphaned and poor children, we had a consultation with the mayor to reduce school fees by at least 50 per cent. After a long process, the authorities finally granted our proposal. If I get a chance, I wish to help all orphans gain have access to school in order to receive appropriate education, food and clean water.

Acting to better health services, I worked with SENAFET last year to get five tonnes of mosquito nets to our district. Consequently, malaria cases reduced by 99 percent during 2018.

My vision for future is to keep all members of my community safe, healthy, and supported. I hope to see all orphaned children accessing education and all widows on the pathway to economic empowerment, through investment funds from NGOs.