The following is Ann Hollingswoth's testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing on Africa's Displaced People on July 9, 2015.
Twelve years after they first fled, refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region are still stuck in eastern Chad. Chad is one of the poorest countries on earth, and the 360,000 Sudanese refugees live in some of its least developed regions. The climate is harsh, agriculture is often impossible, and government services like education and healthcare are largely non-existent.
From atop a rocky hill in eastern Chad, Ali looked out at Farchana camp, home to almost 26,000 of his fellow refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan. In his field of vision, Ali could see a maze of mud-brick shelters, women chopping firewood, and roving bands of giggling children. But to Ali, all these things don’t simply amount to a refugee camp: they are a symbol of defiance
We are in the refugee camp of Touloum in eastern Chad and the sun is bright. The camp is surrounded by desert for miles in every direction. It is quiet in the camp as we walk through, except for a small group of children who are playing outside and the occasional sound of a donkey trudging through the sand.