General information on Chad

Chad is facing difficult times: the overall political, military and security situation in one of Africa's poorest nations remains highly volatile and unforeseeable. Frequent droughts and water scarcity turn life into a daily challenge for the majority of Chadians. It is against this background that SOS Children's Villages is helping the most vulnerable segment of the population to live in peace and security.

One of the poorest countries in the world

Children playing at the SOS Children's Village (photo: C. Flore Ngo Biyack)
Children playing at the SOS Children's Village (photo: C. Flore Ngo Biyack)
The Republic of Chad reached independence from France in 1960 under the leadership of Francois Tombalbaye. The post-independence history of Chad has been rather turbulent: violence due to religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims, natural disasters and armed rebellion have been a heavy burden for this country sometimes referred to as "The Dead Heart of Africa".

Chad endured three decades of civil war and multiple invasions from neighbouring Libya until peace could be restored in 1990 and the first elections were held.

An armed insurgency in the country's northern region began in 1998. As a result of the crisis in Darfur, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees fled to Chad. In early 2008, the Chadian capital N'djamena experienced rebel attacks in which civilians were killed. The number of internally displaced people has nearly doubled since 2006: 140,000 Chadians are now internally displaced and additionally, there are around 200,000 Sudanese refugees living in Chad. The humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated significantly over recent years.

Although the country possesses significant gold, uranium and oil reserves, the people of Chad have not yet benefited from their country's natural wealth. Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the lowest ranking states in terms of human development. It is home to 10.7 million, more than half of whom are under the age of 18.