Western Sahara Support Group

RCN 1191126, Manchester

The Western Sahara Support Group raises funds to support projects that improve the quality of life of people living within the Western Saharan refugee camps, based in the harsh desert conditions of southern Algeria. We are currently supporting a vegetable growing project in the camps which is providing much needed fresh veg at a time when global aid is diminishing.

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Western Sahara Support Group

This is charity, but not as you know it. There are no executive salaries, no admin costs. Every pound we raise goes to help people living in exile in the Sahara desert. Every minute, every hour, every day of time is given by volunteers, free, for nothing.  It’s that simple.

WSSG started in Levenshulme. We hosted groups of refugee children, back in 2000 and 2007, through the Levenshulme Woodcraft Group.  The children touched our hearts and started a relationship which has grown and blossomed over the years into a friendship linking the two communities. We’ve kept in touch over the years through social media. One of these children was a bright, sparky child who has grown into an intelligent, compassionate and driven woman fighting to improve conditions for her people.

Fatimatu was born in Smara camps in 1991. The Sahrawi people were displaced when Morocco took over part of the Western Sahara in 1976, after Spain abandoned the colony. The Sahrawi fled inland to the desert when Morocco annexed the region to exploit the fishing and mineral rich coastal area.

Fatimatu’s parents fled their homeland when the Moroccan army moved in.  She’s never seen her homeland. She now has two children, born in the camps. She is a force of nature and now takes responsibility for her fellow Sahrawi. Over the years, international aid to the camps has declined. Fatimatu has seen this coming and wants to make them self-sustainable by growing crops in the heat of the Sahara, where the temperature can reach 50C and there are frequent sandstorms. So how do you grow crops in dry sand  and in such hostile conditions? “We need a polytunnel and a well, so we can grow our own crops and vegetables and feed ourselves in case the aid dries up completely” said Fatimatu. She costed the project and reached out to her friends in Manchester. She explained her ideas and asked for help.

So the fundraising started – coffee mornings, auctions, dance nights, tea in the park. Slowly but surely, we raised the £23,000  for the polytunnel. The Sahrawi in the camp have dug soil and fertiliser into the sand to enable plants to grow. They’ve brought water in tankers from the nearest oasis 60 miles away to irrigate the crops and are growing their first crop of vegetables.                       

A massive success story.  

That was Phase One.

Phase Two is to have a well to water the crops and give the project its own source of water and help them become fully sustainable. 

Could you help us? Send us a pound/ fiver/tenner, whatever you can afford. Every pound gets us
nearer to building that well. DONATE  Have a look at our website

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