January 27 2011

Children in Tunisia back to school

27/01/2011 - Great relief accompanied the announcement of the reopening of all schools in Tunisia after a two week closure due to the political upheaval and security concerns.

Photo: Thomas Stankiewicz
Photo: Thomas Stankiewicz
At the SOS Children’s Villages in Gammarth, Siliana, Mahres and Akouda, this announcement was much to everyone’s joy on 24 January. However some schools remained closed in a protest organised by some primary school teachers supported by the UGTT union (Tunisian General Labour Union). On 26 January, all kindergartens and schools finally opened again, starting with a minute's silence for the victims of the violent clashes in the past weeks.

Children, youths and SOS mothers from the four Tunisian SOS Children's Villages expressed their relief: Nine-year old Aïcha who attends primary school declares with a big smile: "I am so happy to be back to school, with my friends and teachers. I have missed them a lot." On the reopening day, SOS mother Myriam accompanied her children to the local primary school as if it was the first day back at school after the summer holidays: "I feel reassured to see the children back at school and following up their studies." Aymen, a master degree student in mechanical engineering, feels enthusiastic about the possibility to return to normality in his studies, all the more as he is preparing for his forthcoming departure for an internship in France.

Local shops and markets are fully opened; travelling to and from central Tunis is possible again. All SOS co-workers could go back to work without any transportation problem. The curfew was eased again, by one hour from 22 pm to 4am, effective from 26 January on.

Political uncertainty remains
Almost two weeks after the overthrow of the former president, it remains unclear how the political transition will develop. The situation has improved over the past few days. Rallies are continued but are expected to remain peaceful. Pledges were made to hold free elections in six months.