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Achta is Still Smiling

Achta is Still Smiling

a young mother refuses to give up

Only 21-years-old, Achta is sadly already far too familiar with the perils of conflict. In 2015, when the Boko Haram crisis reached Ngouboua—a village in Chad close to the Nigerian border—Achta and her family, who lived a good life as farmers, had to flee for their lives and face a chilling new reality: makeshift camps and not enough food to eat.

Nearly five years later, Achta and her family have not been able to return home, there’s still not enough food and very little access to healthcare. Achta—now a mother of a newborn baby—became painfully aware of this when she went into labour in Tchoukoudoum, the rural village where she now lives.

‘You came to save my life and now we are both alive.’

The matrons—traditional birth attendants—who assisted Achta’s delivery noticed that she was bleeding heavily and needed medical attention. Thankfully, she was taken by ambulance to Baga Sola Hospital, an International Medical Corps supported facility on the shores of Lake Chad, funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

At the hospital, Achta had a caesarean, which went well—in the picture she’s recovering at the maternity ward. At the ward, a midwife also taught the young mother about breastfeeding and family planning. ‘It will help me in the future’, she said.

Trust and Awareness: the key to helping those in need

But the work to get Achta to the hospital started much earlier. Achta only knew about International Medical Corps’ assistance because the team on the ground has been working with Atcha’s community, visiting it several times to screen for malnutrition among other activities. This meant that Atcha was already familiar with the team and knew that she was in safe hands. Without the awareness and trust of the community, as well as—crucially—that the assistance is free and available to anyone in need, saving lives and reaching those in need becomes many times more challenging.

Despite everything she has already gone through in her 21 years, Atcha is still smiling. When asked about the future, her mind is set on providing for her family: ‘My plan for the future is to raise my child as well as work hard for me and my family. I wish that the security issues would end so that we can remain in our land without problems.’

5.3 million people in Chad will require humanitarian assistance in 2020. Atcha is one of them. Share her story to support people like her and to help International Medical Corps reach more people affected by conflict around the world.

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