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Photo: Kimani DeShields-Williams 

1,160 kmfrom home
"if you did not flee, they would kill you"
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Famata has lived at the Foulatari displacement site in the Lake Chad region for 4 years, after fleeing her native island of Choukouli following an attack by Boko Haram. She is the mother of 8 children.

“Boko Haram arrived during the night and quickly started burning everything’’, she explains, “all everyone could think to do was take the hands of their children and run, without thinking, without looking back, just try to escape, if you did not flee, they would kill you” she said. 

On foot, she fled with her family to what is now Foulatari, along with other friends and neighbors who escaped the attack. They all had only the clothes on their back, thinking they would one day be able togo back and gather their belongings, some money, anything from the life they knew. Yet, when she returned just to grab a few items, her husband had been killed and everything was burned, all her animals, house, every piece of her life “they burned everything, nothing remained” she expressed.

Famata has now found her place at Foulatari, being one of the strong voices for the community and playing a major role in the preparation for community events. She takes pride in her role, smiling when others enjoy the feasts that she prepares, and also in resolving community conflicts that arise. She emphasized the continued need for support, especially for the youth of the community, as poverty is rampant, access to water is becoming increasingly challenging and they are struggling day to day to meet their basic needs. Yet despite the adversity she faces, Famata remains positive, motivated and determined to make the best of her situation, not only for herself but for her community. 

This story is part of the "Beyond the Headlines: an Overview of Migration in Chad" publication.


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