SOS Children in Algeria
Overview of Algeria
Algeria is the largest country in Africa. On the shores of the Mediterranean, it borders Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco.
Like most of the Sahara region, it has been populated since the early Stone Age. French colonisation began in 1827 and after a bitter war of independence with France lasting eight years, Algeria became independent in 1962.
Unlike many African countries, Algeria is relatively highly industrialised, the leading industry being hydrocarbons. Crude oil and liquified natural gas are the main exports. Unemployment is high though and the overall standard of living remains very low. Despite its many social and economic problems, Algeria has been very successful in implementing an education policy and over 95 per cent of Algerian children are enrolled in primary school.
Following the earthquake in Algeria in 1980, SOS Children offered to build a community to help victims of the catastrophe, for which the government provided the land. In 1984, a new agreement was signed between the Algerian government and SOS Children which led to the construction of a new, replacement SOS Children's community in Draria, a suburb of Algiers, which was completed in 1990.
Our work in Algeria
The SOS Children's Village Al Achour/Draria is 8 miles south of the city of Algiers, a city of around 4 million people. The village has 15 family houses which are home to over 100 orphaned and abandoned children and their SOS mothers. It also has a youth house for the older children completing their education or training and taking their first guided steps towards independence. For the younger children there is an SOS Nursery School which is also used by families in the local community. The older children attend local schools.
We also work to prevent child abandonment in and around Draria through our ‘Family Strengthening Programme’. 180 children and their families, a third of whom are affected by HIV / AIDS, are offered nutritional, educational and legal support, and mothers are offered vocational training so they can set up a business; within 3-5 years, most families are independent from this Family Strengthening Programme as they are then able to support themselves financially and emotionally.
Following a further earthquake in May 2003 which claimed over 2000 lives and left thousands more homeless, SOS Children established an emergency aid programme, providing food and temporary shelter and accommodation.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Algeria: Mutual Support
Khalida is an SOS mother from the children's village in Draria, this is what she says about her children:
"The children support each other, like siblings. The older ones help the small ones with their homework. I say 'if there is only one cake, we have to share it'. When I do not get a slice, another family member gives me a piece of his/her slice. Sharing is one of the values we have to teach the children."
SOS Children in Algeria
Association Algérienne des Villages d'Enfants SOS
Bureau du Représentant de SOS KDI
Villa N° 136
16303 Baba Hassen
Tel: +213 / 2031 0576, +213/661 59 2436
Fax: +213 21 350134, +213/21 307642