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Despite improving living conditions, over a million Tunisians live in poverty. Life is particularly hard for children born out of wedlock, who face social stigma and often a life of poverty. Across four key locations in Tunisia, we work with a particular focus on social cohesion. … more about our charity work in Tunisia

Tunisia unrest: SOS projects safe

SOS Children's Villages Tunisia
SOS Children's Villages Tunisia

Since President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali stepped down and fled Tunisia, weeks of anti-government protests and clashes with police have followed in the usually peaceful North African nation.

Nacer Haj Salem, Director of SOS Children's Villages Tunisia, has confirmed that the children, staff and SOS Villages are all safe and unaffected. He says: "Political uncertainty has increased and the law and order situation has deteriorated in what is now being called the “Jasmine Revolution”, the end of the President Ben Ali period. Security forces and barricades are in place around central Tunis with helicopters flying over the capital. In many areas, residents rely on local vigilantes made up of groups of youths equipped with rudimentary weapons. This perpetuates a tense climate and cause lengthy delays as vehicles are subject to searches." He continues, "Although there had been a shortage of food and fuel which was impacting daily life, the situation has improved in the last week. Schools have now re-opened after a two week closure."

Amidst the unrest, all SOS Children's Villages in Tunisia located in Gammarth, Siliana, Mahres and the new Village of Akouda are safe. Children are enjoying normal daily life and the SOS mothers are caring for them in the best possible way. The children, young people and SOS mothers from the four Tunisian SOS Children's Villages expressed their relief after the schools were re-opened. Nine-year old Aïcha said: "I am so happy to be back to school, with my friends and teachers. I have missed them a lot." SOS mother Myriam says: "I feel reassured to see the children back at school and following up their studies."

However, the climate in Tunisia remains tense. Despite local shops and markets operating normally and the curfew being eased, it is still uncertain how quickly the authorities will be able to reinstate the rule of law, as well as how successful the political transition will be.