Desert Shelter

 

Nearly 200.000 saharawi people have been living in a remote corner of the Algerian desert for more than 40 years.

 

In the verge of getting independence from Spain in 1976, Morocco invaded Western Sahara, rich in phosphate, oil and gas, forcing women and children into exile while men stayed to defend their land.

 

The women set up temporary sttlements in the 'hammada', the bleakest part of the desert, that have become a semi-permanent haven. Women have consequently achieved an unusual status in Muslim society. There are educational programmes, a health system and a political organization. However, international aid is still essential. Water, provided by the UN, arrives daily in lorries from Tindouf, the nearest town. The political negotiations are still in a state of deadlock.

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