As I have mentioned here before, there are people in Algeria that live in conditions that are completely unseen in Europe and the developed world. My work with Algerian Action has meant that I have come into contact with quite a lot of families in need and have seen many sorry situations however, sometimes you hear of something which somehow seems worse than those before, something that touches you and pulls at your heart strings just that little bit harder. That is what happened to me when I heard about the following family- a mother and four children. The story was told to me by a friend who lives in Algeria- a lady, who with a group of others helps those in need. She has written about it on her blog which is in French.
The family are living in conditions which are quite indescribable but needless to say unliveable. They live in a shack where a wall is made from blankets and a thin sheet acts as a door. The roof is made from plastic which leaks causing their few belongings to become soaked through and leaving them with nowhere to sleep but wet blankets.
When my friend went to visit she found Zeyneb sitting on a blanket which was damp and smelling of urine, she was disheveled and her hair was sticky and full of lice. Yet despite this, she had a smile like sunshine and was thrilled with the paper and coloured pencils she was given.
There is also an eighteen year old daughter who helps as much as she can and does not mix with the other girls her own age she said that the cold and living conditions had caused both her and her mother to become incontinent and that it was impossible to keep themselves clean. In addition there is a son aged 20, he is unable to read and write and has a low ability. He does not currently have a job, unfortunately he has been treated badly by employers in the past but he does want to work. Lastly there is another son aged 12 who is not attending school. The children live alone with their Mother.
The family has lived in these conditions for the last ten years.
Jobs are currently being sought for the eldest son and mother. It is also planned that the son will be educated to read and write as this will surely help his long term prospects. In addition efforts will be made to get the younger children back into the education system.
Medium term but, really as soon as possible their home needs to be rebuilt so that it can be a safe,dry and secure place in which to live.
Immediately, shoes and clothing are needed for all family members, The mother and 18 year old daughter are both size 4 in shoes and are 10-12 in clothing. The eldest son is also size 4 in shoes and wears size S clothing. The 12 year old boy wears clothes for his age and his shoe size is 2.5 (35) and the little girl is age 6 and wears shoe size 11.5 (30) .
Every single item and every single penny donated will allow this family to start living a normal life, please give whatever you are able to. I plan to send an ’emergency parcel’ to them in two weeks time and then follow up with further items soon after. Part of the funds raised at our Spring Fair will also go towards the rebuilding of the home.
If you can do anything to help this family who are desperately in need please get in touch.