HÜRNER Schweisstechnik helps SOS Children's Villages in Algeria
Algeria is known as the gateway between continental Europe and Africa. Despite the discovery of large oil and gas reserves, vast parts of Algeria are deeply immersed in poverty. In Algiers, thousands of street children are struggling to survive without any support from their families. SOS Children's Villages has been reaching out to the country's young people and children in order to support and protect them.
SOS Children's Villages in Algeria
Following a massive earthquake in October 1980, SOS Children's Villages took the decision to become active in Algeria. In 1981 we began working in the centre of Algiers, the country's capital.
An SOS Emergency Relief Programme had to be started in May 2003 after a massive earthquake shook the country's northern coast. Thousands of homes were destroyed due to the disaster. SOS Children's Villages provided food items, hygiene products, sleeping bags, clothes and other items needed by the victims of the quake.
In 2005, an SOS Family Strengthening Programme was started, enabling children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow up in a loving family environment. At present, the organisation is supporting Algerian young people and children in Algiers by providing day care and medical assistance. Children whose families can no longer take care of them can be looked after by an SOS mother in one of the SOS families.
Situation of the children in Algeria
Algeria is home to roughly 550,000 orphaned children who have lost either one or both of their parents. A large number of these children grow up without parental protection and care or in dysfunctional family structures. Social exclusion, poverty and a lack of family support drive thousands of children into criminal clutches. Orphaned children are particularly vulnerable to all forms of exploitation.
According to reports, child abuse remains a widespread problem in Algeria. Many cases go unreported and implemented laws against child abuse have led to very few prosecutions. Education in Algeria is generally free and compulsory for all children up to the age of 16.
High unemployment and comparatively high school drop-out rates among the country's children and young people means that many turn to juvenile delinquency. Most of the children who engage in child labour do not go to school and consequently don't receive basic education.
Being a street child in Algiers often means a life on the brink of death. Violence, starvation and drug abuse mark the daily reality of these children. The country's infant mortality rate has noticeably improved over the last decade. However, at 29 per 1,000 live births it is still around seven times higher than that of Austria. Six per cent of Algerian children are born underweight.