Tschad: Achta Djibrine Sy

Since I was a child, I have always had a dream: that one day I shall build a big house where all unfortunate people can live and enjoy life.

— Achta Djibrine Sy

Achta Djibrine Sy (born 1962) obtained her first degree in Management and Economics from the University of N’Djaména. She is Intermón Oxfam Representative in Chad and has been advocating women’s work to be visible, regardless of their ethnical and religious background. She encourages women to gain self-confidence and to pool their labor to bring about peace in Chad. Thanks to her splendid efforts, women who were very poor some years ago are now self-dependent and are even able to give loans to others.

After the civil war in Chad, a non-democratic regime seized power in the country. Due to the political upheaval at that time, it was difficult to work together in groups – people had lost trust in each other. Women, the weakest section of the community, suffered. But Achta Djibrine Sy succeeded in teaming up women from different social and educational backgrounds and formed the Said-Al-Awine (Women's Union) where they collaborated to help the local community. "I have to capitalize information, think about women's situation and help them in different ways. I wanted Chadian women to be self-dependent and self-confident. My dream was to boast their capabilities in order to achieve their responsibilities and act for peace in the country", Achta explains. At the beginning she was told that it was not easy to work with underprivileged people, especially urban women who were burdened with a lot of problems. According to Achta, even the group of women with whom she worked did not believe that they could achieve any progress. That is why the only way they could work was within the private sector. These women thought that only women who work in governmental institutions can succeed in their lives. Achta helped them to gain self-esteem and self-confidence. She recalls the day when she accompanied these ladies to sign their recognition paper: "At the entrance to the Ministry office, following local traditional etiquette, they took off their shoes before entering the office. Today, they are more self-confident and they know how to negotiate with the mayor and with development partners. They travel abroad and exchange their views with others." Today, the Women's Union is able to achieve its aims with the auspicious financial contributions of these women, their resources and the loans given to less-fortunate members.

Intermón Oxfam (IO) Groupe informel de réflexion et de recherche action feminine (GIRAF) Said-Al-Awine (Women’s Union)