Who are they?
They are one of the largest non-Arab people groups in Chad with a population of around 450,000 people. Living in north eastern Chad with Neem settlements stretching into Sudan, they speak a language that’s distinctively different from neighbouring groups. Known for being a conservative people, they have a strong sense of identity and are resistant to change. They have a reputation for being wary of outsiders. Even today there is a mixed attitude in rural areas to modern-style education, although with the arrival of satellite TV in the towns, mobile phones and other forms of exposure to the outside world, traditional worldviews are being challenged. Younger people are much more open to change.
What do they believe?
The Neem people strongly identify themselves as Muslim although some know little of Islam’s beliefs. Thus, their Islamic practices are blended with traditional African religious rituals. Many people live in fear, using amulets and charms to ward off evil and sickness.
What is being done to reach them with the gospel?
A small team of AIM missionaries began work among them in one of their larger towns in 2015, and another organisation also has a team which has started work among the Neem. In 2020 the AIM team moved to a more rural location, with the aim of meeting Neem people in their heartland. We’re currently looking to add more workers to our team. Could God be calling you to go, or to share this need?
*The name of the people group has been changed for security reasons.