Friends of the Saharawi people see “very likely” that this year children will not arrive in the region if a 2014 debt is not paid
On Friday, the Federation of Associations of Friends of the Saharawi People of Extremadura considered “very likely” that the children of the “Vacaciones en Paz” program do not come to Extremadura this year, if a debt that comes from last year with the Algerian airline that transports minors.
Specifically, it is a debt of 87,500 euros of the Algerian plane that brought the children of the program ‘Vacations in Peace’ last year, so that “about 200 children” can come to the autonomous community this summer.
Faced with this debt, this group has demanded that the Government of Extremadura acquire a “written commitment” for this payment, since in that case, the federation can tell the Algerian airline that it has “a commitment to pay” and can “request date for children to come this year, “but if they do not have it” it’s going to be very complicated “.
This has been explained by the spokesman of the Federation of Associations of Friends of the Saharawi People of Extremadura, Antonio García, in a press conference that he has offered this Friday in Merida, in which he has hoped that there will be “resolution of the commitment by of the Cooperation Agency “and that” is carried out as soon as possible “, in order to meet the deadlines for documentation of children, and that they can come to the region.
As reported by Garcia, from the regional administration “has always collaborated” with this program, but still missing to pay for the charter flight last year, as the grant was not approved in its day.
Antonio Garcia has indicated that since January they are “in constant meetings” with different organisms of the Government of Extremadura and with different positions of the regional Executive, that “have offered to solve the problem” but “has not been solved” so that the airline refuses, “logically”, to carry out any type of flight for the autonomous community if the amount owed is not paid.
The project, which has “some deadlines”, that has been presented by the Federation of Associations has been denied on three occasions by the Government of Extremadura despite being carried out by one of the technicians with “the best curriculum in international cooperation at the national level” and not having any type of technical difficulty “, so since January there have been verbal contacts with the regional Administration to correct the errors.
Since the beginning of the year there has been “no concrete term” for the payment of the subsidy, but the Government of Extremadura has been asking for technical documentation and the federation “has justified the expenses that have been made” this past year.
In addition, Antonio García has indicated that the aid to the Saharawi people from the Extremeña Agency of Cooperation “has always been by direct award”, since “project was presented and approved or not, and from there it worked” with the budget, since “the call remains open throughout the year” and when the program ends “you see the real expenses” that the program has meant.
Even so, this year is no longer for “direct help” but the grant is made by decree (the order has been published this Friday) although the federation “is not clear” that will happen in this edition of ‘Holidays in Peace ‘
In addition, the spokesman of the federation has indicated that families “are willing to do whatever it takes” but it takes time and means necessary since the federation “does not have the financial means to deal with this debt in a week” .
Antonio García pointed out that the federation is running out of time between one week and 15 days to complete the paperwork for documentation, since it is necessary to obtain visas for Saharawi children.
About 200 families depend on this subsidy, and many other families and children of the Sahara, so the federation of associations has indicated that its members “are very concerned”, since Extremadura “would be the only community in Spain this year do not bring the Sahrawi children if the problem is not solved “, and the” first time the children have not been brought since the project ‘Vacations in Peace’ was created “.
In addition, one of the members of this federation, from the town of Talayuela in Caceres, is willing to “start a hunger strike” this Saturday if the problem is not solved, said the spokesman, who hopes “not to reach this point” .
This Federation of Associations of Friends of the Saharawi People of Extremadura represents “21 of 24 or 25 associations” that exist in the region, which “accounts for 90 percent of the total.”
Holidays in peace
The project ‘Vacations in Peace’ is one of the “most important” of those taking place in Extremadura with regard to the solidarity movement of Friends of the Saharawi People, and consists of about 200 children from refugee camps in the Algerian Hamada come to spend the two summer months with families in the region, and has an approximate cost of “about 120,000 or 130,000 euros each year.”
In the refugee camps of the Algerian Hamada, “temperatures start between 50 and 58 degrees in 15 days,” and there are also “shortages of water and food”, so children come to avoid “that bad summer” and provide them in Extremadura with a “common food” that in the Sahara “can not afford it”, in addition to medical studies and treatments if they need them.
Last year, the host families financed a total of 40 trips, which “have an average cost of 700 euros” since the subsidy was to pay the trip to 160 children, and nobody from the associations “is charging for it, since there is no profit motive, but it is a real solidarity movement “.
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