Only three years ago, Achta lived with her husband and their nine children in the small rural village of Dadabaye, in northern Chad. The family had a good life and Achta’s husband was a successful farmer. “He raised goats, sheep, some camels and we even had our own cattle,” she remembers with a smile.
When drought came to the region, Achta understood that her family would have to move. “It killed all our animals and everyone in the village started to leave. Some families fled to the western part of the country, others, like us, escaped to the east.”
After a long journey, the family found refuge in Arada, a small town not far from Abéché. “But, unfortunately, poverty followed us there,” Achta says. To help his family survive, Achta’s husband decided to go to Libya to find work. “It’s one and a half years ago. I have not heard from him since,” she says quietly.
When her husband left, Achta was pregnant and soon gave birth to Zara, their tenth child. Today, Achta is a single mother and the only provider for her big family.
Whenever she can, Achta works in the homes of her neighbours to earn money to feed her family. “But when I am out of the house, the kids often sneak in and take what little food is left.”
Thanks to WFP and the EU, Achta now receives €29 each month during the three months of the lean season, the period before the harvest, when food is scarce and prices rise. With this money, she can buy food at the local market and prepare a real family meal. “This is a godsend for my family. (…) Food is our priority, even if we have other needs. For example, I can only afford to send three of my children to school. With this money I can feed my family and save €8 per month for the unexpected,” she says.