Sponsor a child in Tunisia
Despite Tunisia's relative stability, thousands of families find themselves living in poverty, and many young children are forced to drop out of school. Since the 1980s, SOS Children's Villages has provided care and support for struggling families and children in Tunisia.
To give a child in Tunisia the education and protection they need, sponsor a child in Tunisia with SOS Children's Villages: Sponsor a child in Tunisia
Political change and migration to Italy
Following the 2010 uprising, Tunisia has been in a state of political flux. Life expectancy and GDP are rising but many of those living in rural areas are still struggling with poverty and unemployment. Substantial numbers turn to migration, travelling in overcrowded boats to seek opportunities in Italy. Many risk their lives to make the crossing.
Children forced to work and lead households
Education is available and almost all children enrol in primary education. However, the need to work means that thousands drop out of school every day, leading to a shocking 20% illiteracy rate amongst Tunisians. Roughly 30% of girls end up in work by the age of 14, and some are forced into employment from as young as 7. As well as growing up with no parents, many orphaned children are forced to head households and face extreme economic hardship.
Our Work in Tunisia
SOS Children's Villages opened its first two Villages in Tunisia in 1983, in the northern cities of Siliana and Gammarth. We focus in particular on helping children born out of wedlock, who are highly stigmatised in Tunisian society, and often vulnerable to poverty. In recent years, we have expanded our family support work, equipping parents to offer the best possible care to their children.
Located in the north of the country, Siliana is one of the poorest areas in Tunisia. Here, up to half of the population is unemployed. Ultimately, this leads to the break-up of families and leaves children without care. Uneducated single mothers are also faced with the impossible task of providing for a family.
SOS Children's Villages provides access to essential healthcare and education, and offers guidance to parents to create stronger, more successful families. Where necessary, children without a family are cared for in the Village from nursery through to higher education.
Political change in Tunisia has left the Tunis suburb of Gammarth in a precarious situation, with high unemployment rates. As well as lacking access to basic resources, cultural attitudes mean that children of single mothers are often rejected by society. As well as providing support and guidance for families such as these, SOS Children's Villages ensures that children have a cultural role in their communities and a place in society.
The main source of income in the coastal town of Mahrés comes from fishing. However, this work is seasonal, leading to unstable income, and many people resort to working as caretakers for wealthy families. This kind of lifestyle, aggravated by mental health issues and chronic disease, leaves children extremely vulnerable, and many lose the care of their parents. SOS Children's Villages works in conjunction with the local government to identify the most vulnerable families and to provide strong networks of care, training and psychological support.
Akouda is located near Sousse in the east of Tunisia and many people working here are employed in the informal sector, resulting in a lack of job security. Some people are forced to make a living by selling plastic they have collected off the street, while other young men seek out marriage to European women to get money or a visa. SOS Children's Villages provides support to families in Akouda so that children growing up with uneducated or unemployed parents still have the opportunity to become confident and successful adults.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Tunisia: Mokhtar's story
Mokhtar*, is a former SOS child, who lived in SOS Children’s Village Siliana when he was young. At the age of 15; he was transferred to the SOS Youth Home outside the village.
Never suited to traditional academic subjects, Mokhtar was advised to study a vocational course. He has now been trained as a qualified professional chef, despite his slight physical disability in his left hand. With the commitment of his SOS mother, today he is becoming independent. He was hired as a cook in a school. He recently got married and he has now found his own family for life.
*name has been changed for privacy reasons.
Association Tunisienne des Villages d'Enfants SOS
Boulevard de l'Environnement
1057 Gammarth / Tunisie
Tel: +216/71 91 96 15, +216/71 91 96 14
Fax: +216/71 91 96 54