Children Forced to Flee Violence in the Ivory Coast

Rachel is a refugee from violence in the Ivory Coast.

Rachel was forced to flee her home one month ago with her mother, three sisters, adopted brother, her aunt and her grandmother. She has fallen ill and had a fever the day Save the Children went to visit.

Over a million people have been affected by a humanitarian crisis in the African nation of Ivory Coast. Marie, Aurelie and Rachel are a few of the little girls who have witnessed violence, heard gunshots and were forced to flee their homes. In early April, their mother Georgette spoke with Save the Children’s relief workers in a neighborhood of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan about their harrowing experience.

Georgette had been watching the situation get worse, and grew afraid for her family. Finally, fear prompted her to take her children and flee their home. Together with her four daughters, Georgette is now staying with her sister's family in a safer part of the city.

“[My mother] told us to get dressed, we were going to leave or else they would kill us,” says Georgette’s eight-year-old daughter Aurelie. “When we left Abobo there was shooting everyday and we couldn’t sleep. I want to go to school. Since we got here, I haven’t been going to school. If they stop shooting, I’d like to go back home because my things are there.”

There is not enough food to feed them all. One of Georgette’s younger daughters, Rachel, five, has fallen ill. She has a fever and the family thinks it’s malaria but they can’t be sure. Rachel is the first to be given food.

Save the Children has been providing support to children who have been forced to flee their homes in the West of Ivory Coast.  In Duékoué, where food and water are in short supply, Save the Children was the first organization to provide food to the displaced. We distributed rice, oil and tuna, which was enough food for 20,000 people for one day.

Save the Children estimates that 1 million children have been out of school due to violence, displacement and teachers no longer showing up to class. Children like Aurelie and Marie are losing out on their education, no longer see their friends, and lose their sense of normalcy.

“My friends have all left. I want to see them. I want to go to school to play with my friends, says 9-year-old Marie. “I don’t want people to come and kill us. I’m scared. I want to play with my friends and go back to my house.”

Save the Children needs generous support to dramatically increase our reach. Your support will help us protect very vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief supplies to children and families affected by this crisis.