Hundreds of poor and orphaned children have received warm clothing and sturdy shoes in Islamic Relief’s latest project in northern Tunisia.

Fedi Mejri, 12, with his  winter kit provided by Islamic Relief.

Fedi Mejri, 12, with his winter kit provided by Islamic Relief.

Orphaned and poor children are amongst the most vulnerable in Tunisia, a country in which some 15.5 per cent of the population are thought to live beneath the poverty line. When the colder winter months come, it is harder than ever for children from poorer families to go to school – often leading to a seasonal dip in school attendance rates.

The distribution, which took place in schools during February, helped 750 orphaned and vulnerable children to cope with the cold winter season in Béja, Jendouba, Le Kef and Séliana. As well as providing warmth, it also aimed to enable children to get more out of their education and build brighter futures.

Fedi’s only meal is a sandwich at school

Fedi Mejri, 12, is in fifth grade at Ain Hamraya School in Ain Drahem, Jendouba. He lives with his family in a hut several kilometers from the school. His father does not earn enough money to feed his children properly and to cover their educational needs.

Sheyma Boukari, 7, is now better able to concentrate at school.

Sheyma Boukari, 7, is now better able to concentrate at school.

Fedi told us that he eats just once a day – a sandwich that he is given at school, which is the only reason he makes the daily trek to school. He had only old clothes and plastic boots to keep him warm, but then Islamic Relief provided Fedi with a winter kit. The package included a blanket, a winter coat and boots, as well as a hat, scarf and socks.

Sheyma helped to concentrate at school

Seven-year old Sheyma Boukari is in the second grade at Bounayel School, Ain Drahem, Jendouba. Sheyma and her elder brother both have a disability that mean they shake and struggle to speak or write. Her brother is no longer in school, after being unable to pass his grade for three years.

Sheyma also received a winter kit, which will provide her with some comfort and enable her to concentrate on her studies.

Winter kits for bright stars

Mohammed and Mariem are orphaned children who are looking past their poverty to reach for the stars. Both want to be doctors when they grow up. Seven-year old Mohammed Ibrahim Mussa is predicted to score high marks in his exams at Tazerka Street School, Bardou, Tunisia. At nine-years old, Mariem El-Karsi already excels in sciences and dreams of fighting difficult diseases and saving lives. Both children received an Islamic Relief winter kit.

Islamic Relief Tunisia delivers projects to enable poor people to improve their lives, as well as much needed humanitarian aid. Other schemes to help vulnerable children at school include educational support for refugee children and supplementary school feeding in southern Tunisia.