(Picture: SOS Children’s Villages in Algeria)

Algeria is a country located in the Maghreb region of Northern Africa. It shares borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauretania and Morocco. The Sahara desert covers more than four fifths of its territory. The country is home to 34 million people, who predominantly live along the northern coast where the capital, Algiers, is situated. Although the country's economy has recently seen an upswing, the vast majority of Algerians remain poor. Unemployment is particularly high among the youngest segment of population.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Algeria since 1985.

Children are at risk

Algeria is home to roughly 550,000 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 families that need support. Social exclusion, poverty and a lack of family support drive thousands of children into criminal clutches. Children without parental care 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.

SOS Children’s Villages in Algeria SOS Children's Villages International has ceased its activities in Algeria until further notice. As per Government directives, no child has been admitted in alternative care since 2018. Due to changes in the Algerian legislation for Nonprofit Organizations, SOS Children’s Villages is no longer in the position to continue its operations in the country. Family strengthening programmes were closed in March 2022. In December 2022, the Algerian Red Crescent has been appointed by the Algerian President’s office to take over the operations of the SOS Children’s village of Draria.