The desire to be a mechanic


Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many people lack access to vocational training, which would be a way out of poverty. Caritas Switzerland supports young people with training programmes to improve their prospects.

Alain Mendjiormel is 30 years old and has a plan: he wants to become a motorbike mechanic. But in his home town of Timbéri and the surrounding area, there is no suitable training. For several years, he ekes out a living as a farmer and does everything he can to support his wife Olive and their four children. But the money rarely lasts until the end of the month. The fields are no longer as fertile as they used to be and oxen, which would make the work easier, are expensive.

Caritas Switzerland fills gaps in the training system

Career opportunities for young people like Alain are limited in southern Chad. A large proportion of the population can neither read nor write. Local training centres are also rare and expensive. It is difficult to get a permanent job under these circumstances. Caritas Switzerland is creating opportunities for vocational training and improved access to the labour market in three southern provinces.

Teenagers and young adults can complete a three-month apprenticeship in tailoring, carpentry, motorbike mechanics or knitting. They then receive a basic set of tools and materials to open their own business. They acquire the necessary entrepreneurial knowledge in training courses.

Alain becomes a motorbike mechanic - and a businessman

When Caritas was looking for young people to train as motorbike mechanics in spring 2021, Alain Mendjiormel seized the opportunity: «I signed up straight away and completed the three-month training course a short time later. Since then, I have been repairing the farmers' motorbikes in Timbéri in my own workshop. The income is finally enough to feed my family.»

The project has awakened a great business sense in Alain. Since then, he has used every opportunity to generate additional profits. For example, by buying and selling motorbikes, trading millet and soon also breeding goats.

«For the first time in my life, I can even put some money aside.»Alain Mendjiormel

He and his wife have already been able to replace the thatched roof of their house with a tin roof and buy a goat. The couple have big plans for the future and want to offer their children the best possible living conditions.

Futher information

Header image: Alain Mendjiormel (30): «I wanted to become a mechanic for a long time, but that wasn't possible. Today I have my own garage.» © Simon Huber/Caritas Switzerland