Monique arrived in Chad in 1968 to work as a youth group leader for the Evangelist Churches. But one day she was entrusted with two new born twin babies whose mother had died in childbirth. The animist tradition pretends that the bad spirit that killed a mother in childbirth inhabits the child who is doomed to die, otherwise the cohesion of the family group is endangered. This first contact with such cruel rites leads her to save these children. Other children are rapidly brought to her, sometimes from far. She gets organized in the most awful destitution.
One day, Jean-Pierre rides his motorbike to Koumra, visiting Africa. He will stay there to help Monique and will marry her a few months after. The small cell is structured, grows and becomes an orphanage called Betsaleel. In the beginning, a few friends send them donations, parcels and money. A sponsorship system is then organized. A family or a group enrolls in for a child in particular, taking care of him, follows him as he grows up, receives news, a new photograph each year… This system sets up affectionate bonds with the children despite the distance.
Years go by and in 1983, Eben-Ezer a new welcome home is built in Bessada, 20 km from Koumra. In this village is a secondary school functioning in good conditions where our students can continue their schooling.
Jean-Pierre and Monique decide to do more than feeding, sending to school and raising their children. A farm is created in Monkara, 12 km from Kumra. This agricultural training center allows on the one hand to supply vegetables for the orphanage, and on the other hand to train young people to agriculture, farming and market gardening cultures.
They set up learning workshops and received 146 children. Helped by Chadian staff members and by young volunteers from France and Switzerland for more or less long periods, all the expatriate team works au pair.
In 1988 a new structure is created, a Maternal and Child Protection center to give first aid to orphans by maintaining them within their families. The goal is to raise the mothers facing problems when it comes to weaning their child and picking up undernourished children. It is imperative to improve the nutritional condition and health of children who will become the “hands of the future”.
In 1991, Monique and Jean-Pierre come to N’Djamena at the Social Affairs Minister’s request. For this capital city counting 800 000 inhabitants, there was no welcome center for abandoned and orphan children. Thereby they started a second orphanage called Béthanie. This center is located 10 km from the city sheltering 65 children. They are taken care of until the age of 6, and then since 2009 until the age of 3, after which they are reintegrated into their families, being followed on a medical and school plan. As in Koumra, a Maternal and Child Protection center has also been opened to the local neighboring population.
Since 2012, Betsaleel has chosen to africanize the management of centers in Chad. There are no more expatriates apart from coordination visits and projects follow-up.
- 1969 - Creation and construction of the first building
- 1972 - Construction of the first family house
- 1973 - Construction of the nursery
- 1975 - Construction of the school
- 1983 - House Eben-Ezer for Bessada secondary school students
- 1986 - Professional training center woodworking and mechanics
- 1987 - Creation of the farm for professional agricultural training in Monkara
- 1988 - Construction of the Maternal and Child Protection center in Koumra
- 1993 - Beginning of the construction of Béthanie center, 11 km from N’Djaména
- 1996 - Inauguration of Béthanie center in Sadjiri
- 1997 - Construction of a Maternal and Child Protection center in Sadjiri
- 1998 - Construction of the nursery school, 4 classrooms
- 2008 - Setting up of phase 1 in the Moringa project in the Monkara farm, 2-year support from the European Union.
- 2012 - Africanization of sites
- 2015 - Modifications of the N’Djamena project and of the orphans’ reception conditions; renovation works
- 2016 - Beginning of the Béthanie Life Center project in N’Djamena
- 2017 - Renovation works on Koumra’s site of the Maternal and Child Protection center; reinforcement of awareness campaign