Henriette Batnan, a 37-year-old refugee from the Central African Republic, was unable to afford to give her son Edouard a Christmas present after they fled their home in 2017.
As an alternative, she dressed him in traditional garb so he could see Santa Claus, who on Wednesday came to the Dembo Refugee Camp in southern Chad with gifts for the kids.
Edouard, who was given his first gift since moving into the camp with his mother almost six years ago, seemed to be on Claus’ list of good kids.
“It makes me happy to see him laughing, having fun, and most of all getting Christmas presents,” said, Batnan, who like the majority of CAR population is Christian.
Edouard was one of around 300 children, who took part in a “Christmas Tree” ceremony organised by the World Bank’s Refugees and Host Families Support Project, which provides basic needs to displaced people and works to expand education and health services in camps.
Liliane Ganda Kadja Kossi, the project’s provincial coordinator, who came up with the “Christmas Tree” idea, said the event aimed to give the camp’s children a moment of joy, to help them forget for a while the difficult conditions they live in.
“The lives of children in refugee camps are not easy,” she said. “They are traumatised … They don’t have peace and quiet.”
The occasion provided many youngsters at the Dembo camp who had been uprooted by conflicts in central Africa with their first opportunity to enjoy the holiday with children around the world.
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