Though an oil rich city, Algiers has extreme inequality between those who work in the oil industry and service industry, and those who live on the fringes of society.
Being close to Europe, there are large numbers of migrants who transit through the city in search of transport to a better life.
A city of deep divisions
The capital of Algeria, Algiers is on the Mediterranean coast and has a population estimated between 3.5 - 5 million. Home to the country's stock exchange and the economic, commercial and financial hub of the country, it also has some of the highest costs of living in Algeria. On the northern edge of the Sahara desert, most of the country's residents live on the fertile northern fringes of the country.
Inequality is obvious in the city. Though there is great wealth to be had due to oil exports, this wealth is shared by a relative minority of the population of Algiers. The bulk of the city has quite difficult living conditions to the wealthy, with substandard housing and poor utility provision such as fresh water and sanitation.
Such gross inequality has caused political instability in the past, with young people clashing with police over inequality of opportunity.
Children need a nurturing, safe environment
Due to the difficult living conditions many families face, children are frequently pulled out of school by their parents and forced to beg or sell trinkets. In missing out on their education, so children are deprived of their best opportunity to break out of poverty.
Just across the Mediterranean from Europe, Algiers is a transit point for migrants as they attempt to travel to the EU for a better life. Many of these arrive with almost nothing and have travelled thousands of miles from often desperate situations at home. Others are being trafficked illegally by organise gangs, and young girls are brought to the city to work as domestic servants. This transitory and poor population adds to the social problems faced by local authorities.
SOS Children's Village Draria
We have been working in Draria, just south of Algiers, since 1981. We have a number of social centres that help the community fight the root causes of poverty in five towns in the area - Draria, Naciria, Corso, Tipaza, and Tizi Ouzou. These centres reach over 1500 people and are intended to ensure that children have access to good food and health services in the area.
We also help parents by giving guidance as to how to improve their incomes, and offer them psychological support to ensure they can better look after their parents. We also work with local organisations into vulnerable families with tailor made family strengthening programmes, designed to ensure children at risk stay under parental care.
In Draria we run an SOS nursery that caters for the whole neighbourhood. This gives children a good first step into education while allowing parents and single mothers to work safe in the knowledge that their children are in good hands.
A new loving home
Where children cannot live with their parents, they can live in our Children's Village and be part of an SOS family. Here they are cared for in a loving environment by an SOS Mother and attend school in the local community. They are encouraged to forge and maintain bonds with extended family and the local community.
As young people reach an age where they require more independence, so they engage with the SOS youth programme. This is shared, supported accommodation in which they live while guided into early adulthood by qualified youth counsellors, while attending further education or vocational training.
Through extensive community work, we help strengthen families and keep them together. When a child has lost parental care, we provide a nurturing home in our Children's Village. Will you sponsor a child in Algeria today?