Five years ago, Papayon Adji was in the middle of prayers at his mosque when he heard shouting from outside. “They’re here,” he thought in panic. “I didn’t think they’d come while we were praying.”
He and others hid in fear, hearing gunshots and fighting outside as soldiers clashed with armed rebels hunting for what they considered foreigners to their country.
After a lifetime in Central African Republic (CAR), Adji fled north with his family, eventually landing in a refugee camp in southern Chad called Kobiteye.
In CAR, violence toward people of Chadian descent — like Adji, whose parents are Chadian — has caused thousands to flee into nearby countries where they may have no family or support. His flight is a story repeated across continents — in countries including Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Colombia and Honduras. Around the world, more people today are displaced from their homes than ever before.
Throughout MCC’s relief, development and peace work in more than 50 countries, MCC addresses the reasons people must flee their homes — from lack of food to violence.
After a disaster or crisis, emergency assistance and food-for-work or cash-for-work projects offer chances to rebuild at home. Conservation agriculture and other strategies help farmers withstand climate change instead of leaving their land. Programs in peacebuilding and trauma healing develop skills to address existing conflicts and prevent violence before it can force people from home.
As MCC marks 100 years of ministry in the name of Christ, responding to those who have fled home is a priority. And MCC invites you to take part.
Your gifts to the Our Faith. Our Future. centennial fundraising campaign will meet urgent needs and allow MCC to invest in special projects for people on the move, including a water, sanitation and health project in Adji’s refugee camp in Chad.
Adji is one of some 24,000 people who have streamed into southern Chad from CAR and are surviving in three government-built camps and the surrounding area, many living without basic necessities like clean water and sanitation.
Over the past few years, MCC has supported projects in the camps to install water pumps and train committees to promote hygiene.
But with thousands of people in each camp and more continuing to arrive, pumps are constantly in demand. They are breaking, there aren’t spare parts to fix them — and the already enormous challenges of providing adequate, safe water and sanitation are growing.
If this work is expanded, it will meet immediate needs for water and improve health. But it also would empower more people like Adji, whose mechanical skills were recognized through the project and who received training to repair and maintain pumps.
And by expanding to nearby communities, it would help build peace between long-time residents and the newcomers.
In honour of 100 years of ministry, MCC invites you to reflect on how you can be part of reaching out to people on the move today.
Why do people move?
Food shortage, environmental disaster, climate change, poverty and conflict push people to move. Land, resources, jobs, family, health and education pull people to move. People move voluntarily, a choice made after weighing the pros and cons. People move involuntarily, forced by violence, persecution and human trafficking.
In the Bible, the people of God were called to remember their story of migration. That remembering led to a call to safeguard the well-being of foreigners among them (Leviticus 19:33-34).
- migration stories from your own life
- ways migration shaped your family
- migrants you have met
- the variety of reasons people may leave home
- those opening their homes and offering hospitality to people on the move
- the choices you’ve been able to make about where to live
- How can we as Christians respond to the call to safeguard the well-being of people on the move: before they leave home; during their journeys; and once they arrive?
- What are the ways we are connected to each other?
Take action today
Give to the Our Faith. Our Future. centennial campaign. Your gifts help build peace and new opportunities for families uprooted by conflict or disaster.
Gather your small group or Sunday school class to talk about the "Why do people move?" points above. Pay attention to migration journeys in MCC stories, in the news or in movies, books and poems.
Pray for those who are on the move today. Is God leading you to pray for people in a particular place or situation, for children, for mothers? Do you feel called to pray for good opportunities for them, for safety, for healing from the trauma they’ve encountered?
Advocate to government leaders as one important way to live out your Christian witness. With resources from MCC’s advocacy offices, you can speak out to build a more just and peaceful world for people on the move.
Chad reporting by Jason Dueck.