Football great and former French captain Zinedine Zidane this week visited a paediatric centre at a hospital in Thenia, which was reconstructed by SOS Children's Villages following the earthquake that devastated the northern Algerian region of Boumerdes in 2003.
Making his first visit in 20 years to his ancestral home, Zidane visited and inaugurated various social projects in Algeria over the past few days, including the paediatric centre at Thenia hospital, which had been destroyed by the 2003 earthquake. Zizou, as he nicknamed in France, was accompanied on his visit by his Algerian-born parents.
SOS Children coordinated the reconstruction of this paediatric centre in Thenia with the financial support of the Foundation of France, as well as proceeds of a charity football game that was organised by Zidane and his former team mate Henri Emile back in October 2003.
The paediatric centre was reconstructed in 90 days and includes a 475m2 building with 45 beds for children. The centre went into operation following a small opening ceremony in March 2004 organised by Algerian hospital authorities. Later on, another building was established for the mothers of hospitalised children.
This facility provides a space for mothers to be with their sick children and includes 24 beds, three classrooms, three educational workshops and two offices and is the first of its kind in Algeria.
The 2003 earthquake in the Boumerdes region of northern Algeria killed 2,300 people, injured more than 10,000 and left least 100,000 homeless. SOS Children quickly responded to this natural disaster by setting up an emergency relief programme, under which food parcels, hygiene products, sleeping bags, radiators and clothes were distributed to families who had been forced to temporarily live in tents.