By Cathy Elelman • 16 July 2019 • 18:30
RESPITE: The children come from the Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria where summer temperatures can exceed 50C.
CREDIT: Almeria Provincial Council website
WESTERN Saharan children from Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria are escaping the extreme heat of summer staying with families across Almeria.
The 67 10 to 12-year olds are spending the hottest months of the year in the province under the Friends of the Sahara Association ‘Holidays in peace’ initiative, now in its 20th year.
This morning (Tuesday), the children paid a visit to the provincial government offices, where they were welcomed by Diputacion President Javier. A. Garcia.
“This is your land, the Almeria families are your family and this is your province”, Garcia told the children.
“You are welcome because you bring a great deal of happiness and you bring us so much”, he continued.
“I hope you enjoy your months in Almeria and that you will remember this experience for the rest of your lives.”
The provincial council president thanked the association and the host families from 27 different municipalities for their “solidarity”, which he said was key to making the programme a success.
“It is an example of the generosity of Almerian society”, he told them.
The provincial administration head said he is convinced taking in the children for the summer is “a worthwhile experience, and that what they give back to you more than exceeds everything you do for them.”
Garcia also commented that the number of children taking part in the initiative in recent years has dropped. He pledged the provincial administration would “continue developing this project and encouraging more families to take in boys and girls who spend summer in extreme conditions.
“For them it is a great opportunity, but also for the host families”, he commented.
Since the Holidays in Peace programme was launched in 1999 nearly 2,400 Sahrawi children living in the Tindouf camp have come to Almeria for July and August, when temperatures in that part of Algeria can climb to over 50C.
During their stays they have medical checks, receive vaccinations and are treated for any illness they may be suffering from.
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Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.
Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.
Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.
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