More than 450 Saharan children come to live in Catalonia

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Laura Morral
  • Image of one of the posters of the 'Holidays in Pau' program
    Image of one of the posters of the 'Holidays in Pau' program. Source: Catalonia-Sahara.

Catalan families welcome children in the 'Vacations in peace' program coordinated by the Polisario Front and all entities in solidarity with the Sahrawi people.

More than 450 Saharan children are ready to come to Catalonia to spend the two months of summer, July and August, hosted by families throughout Catalonia.

This is the 'Holidays in peace' program coordinated by the Ministry of Youth of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD), the Delegation of the Polisario Front in Catalonia and the Associations and NGOs in solidarity with the Sahrauí People.

The Coordinator of ‘Vacations in Peace’, Sussana Sanahujes, explains that this program is designed for children between 10 and 12 years old from refugee camps in the province of Tindouf (Algeria).

According to Sanahujes, this project has a double objective. First, take these children from these fields during July and August where, in this territory, the heat can rise to more than 50 degrees.

The second objective is to take them out, as well, of the shelter situation they live during the year. "In this way you can have access to a varied diet and have fun. "They do not go hungry but their diet throughout the year is very limited," notes the coordinator himself.

In addition, the program has an agreement with the Catalan Institute of Health for these children to carry out medical inspections. "Normally they come with problems of sight due to the sand of the desert, problems of hearing, lack of vitamins ...", says Sanahujes.

Apart from this double objective, the program has a more humanitarian generic aspect, that is to ameliorate the situation of the Sahrawi population that, for more than 44 years, has been forced to live in the desert zone of the southwest of Algeria because Morocco occupies its territory.

For this reason, the program also wants to convey to society the need to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara enabling the Sahrawi people to exercise their right to self-determination and return to their country.

The idea is to organize actions to improve the quality of life of children and their families, distance minors from the extreme climatic conditions of the camps, especially in summer, to make a full medical examination for minors, complement their nutritional deficiencies and create family bonds that last.

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