Famine, disease, including HIV/AIDS, and many years of civil unrest and war, has taken its toll on the already poverty stricken north central African nation of Chad. There are an estimated 500,000 orphaned children out of a population of 10 million. Due to the AIDS epidemic, the number of orphans within the country continues to rise at an alarming rate. There are virtually no governmental programs within Chad to assist these orphans and widows. Additionally, there are few not-for-profit organizations present in the country to assist with this problem. Healthcare is nearly non-existent, water is recovered from mostly contaminated open wells, food and clothing are scarce for lack of financial resources, and there is no free government-provided education or books.
In response to these needs, Misson:Chad began supporting 20 orphans in 2002 by providing for their food, clothing, education and healthcare. In 2004, Chadian nationals formed their own non-governmental organization (NGO) called SCPEDT, or (in English) Christian Service for Childhood and Development in Chad, to enable the support of orphans to expand. With the support of Mission:Chad, SCPEDT has been able to provide healthcare, education, food and clothing to 83 orphaned and destitute children and widows in Chad, but so many more need our help.
Until October 2008, the program provided these necessities to children at two locations, in the southern city of Moundou and in the capital city of N'Djamena. About half of the children supported were those who had homes to stay in, usually those of extended family members. In addition, as a result of the generosity of Mission:Chad donors, 43 orphans had a home at the newly constructed Village Altonodji orphanage center in Moundou. In addition to the 43 residents, 160 students from the nearby community were also being provided a quality private education at the Village. A similar orphan village is planned for N'Djamena as funds become available.
In October 2007, all the orphaned children from both N'djamena and Moundou were relocated to the newly constructed and expanded Village Altonodji. Now in its fourth year, there are 155 permanent children and six widow-mothers living at the Village and the total student count is 350.
Mission:Chad and SCEPDT are mindful that the needs of suffering children in Chad extend beyond the Christian community. Therefore, an important part of the outreach is to the majority Muslim population in Chad. In ministering to these destitute widows and orphans as well as to Christians, SCEPDT and Mission:Chad are making a powerful statement that Jesus Christ loves and cares for all people, regardless of faith.