Lafya, the little girl and the evil Coronavirus

Fighting COVID-19 together

Martina Palazzo
Unicef Chad/2019/Blaise Tompte
19 May 2020

A drawn world, made of colours and rounded shapes, to talk to children in Chad and elsewhere. Lafya (meaning “peace” in Ngambaye, one of the local languages) is its protagonist, an 8-year-old girl who learns, discovers and understands by opening the doors of knowledge with the key of a typically infantile curiosity. She is the bearer of messages, contents and actions that should guarantee every child to be born, grow up and develop in a healthy and protective environment, in order to be a useful and active citizen who will contribute to the development of his or her country. In other words, Lafya is a heroine, the new ambassador for UNICEF Chad.

Lafya and her dad
UNICEF/2020/Blaise Tompte

In March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic crossed the borders of Chad, heralding a period of restrictions, alert and renunciation of a daily life that comforts both adults and children. Closed schools, inaccessible religious places, restaurants, bars and gathering places. In N'Djamena first, and then in the rest of the country, life has changed in a less sociable and more discreet façade, the routine rhythm has become slower and less authoritarian. Lafya doesn't understand what's going on around her: her parents don't go to work anymore and she can't see her girlfriends on the school benches anymore. What's wrong? The answers are all given in the comic book "Lafya, the girl and the evil Coronavirus". As you flip through the pages, the beauty of the drawings is combined with an informative and stimulating read. The words interweave so that the reader learns, in symbiosis with Lafya, how to block the way of the nasty virus that kills indiscriminately and all over the world.

A story, a life lesson, which becomes a pleasure for the eyes thanks to the talent of Blaise Tompte, a 29-year-old Chadian mechanical engineer who has made his true passion - drawing - his profession. "I dream of a better world and this world can only be built by children. That's why I chose to draw for them. Children have a genie sleeping inside them, and if you can wake it up, they can do things that adults do badly," says Blaise.

UNICEF/2020/Blaise Tompte

"I loved this project with Lafya because we were able to deliver a message to the children through a child. By reading the comic book, children will easily identify with it and want to be like their heroine."

Thanks to the financial support of ECHO, UNICEF Chad has been able to encourage Blaise's talent and accompany him throughout the creative process from his first sketches. A month of intense work to make this book with the aim of helping save human lives during a global pandemic. How?

Read the story 

Download the story