Siliana

Children at the SOS Children's Village Siliana, TunisiaLocated in northern Tunisia on the western edge near the Dorsale Mountains, Siliana is a town of around 25,000 inhabitants. It lies southwest of the nation’s capital, Tunis.

Although it is known for its agricultural, food and mineral industries, Siliana remains one of Tunisia's poorest provinces.

Unemployment prevents growth and stability

Unemployment is high at 50%, and poverty has spread throughout Siliana causing an increase in violence. Protesters cause frequent strikes, loitering and roadblocks and demand attention from the government to improve living conditions.

The citizens of Siliana have felt neglect from the government with the new legislation and officers. This conflict leads families into making tough decisions that sometimes result in separation and abandonment of family members. Children are frequently among those abandoned because parents can no longer feed them, provide a home, adequate healthcare and education.

What we are doing to help

In 1984, we opened a Children’s Village in Siliana to help families affected by the tough economic conditions. Built in the typical Arabian style, our Village provides children with a safe and tranquil environment surrounded by fertile gardens of flowers, greenery and vegetation. Our SOS mothers give Siliana’s most vulnerable children with the security, protection and love they need to enjoy a happy, healthy childhood full of wonderful memories.

We ensure that brothers and sisters remain together because we believe passionately that family is essential to a happy upbringing. We also believe in bringing children up within their culture, and we work to integrate children with their local community.

Protecting and strengthening them into adulthood

Siliana is home to many adults with little or no education. This causes many challenges and makes it very difficult for them to provide for their own family. Our youth programme is specially designed to help youngsters develop skills for the career they want to pursue. The programme helps them acquire valuable skills while they pursue further education and vocational training.

We help Siliana’s most vulnerable children enjoy a happy, healthy childhood – but we don’t stop there. We make sure every young person in our care gets the support they need to flourish in adult life.

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Did you know? SOS Children cares for two of the children featured in BBC documentary Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children.