“I want my daughter to be like you when she’s grown up: someone who is active and educated.”
Letter to Friends around the World # 105

After the Jasmine Revolution of 14th January 2011 in Tunisia, the government actively encouraged people to create organisations and engage with vulnerable people to help improve their living conditions. And so, in August 2011, with a group of young agronomists, we created the Association Sources et Horizons in the city of Aïn Draham, working to improve the economic and social conditions of its inhabitants.

Aïn Draham is a city in north-west Tunisia, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The region has a wealth of medicinal and aromatic plants, but it remains poor and faces several challenges such as access to schools.

The city is situated in an arid area of Tunisia, surrounded by very poor, marginalised villages, with land that is left uncultivated due to a lack of means, training and management. We began by listening to families to understand their needs. We met several times with chiefs in the surrounding villages, with people working in agriculture, health and education, and also those who lived there - women, young people and children.

A vegetable garden was opened in 2013 for women and young people so that they could learn how to grow certain varieties of vegetables in their gardens. We also realised that there was a need to improve learning conditions for children, so we chose to restore a school in one of the villages in the region, repairing the walls, windows and playground. At the same time, we made the decision with the parents at the school to acquire a small patch of land in order to provide a space where they could grow medicinal and aromatic plants that are now disappearing in the forest. This not only ensures funding for school projects, but also an income for the parents who take part.

Additionally, we have worked to build a dirt road to bring a rural village out of isolation. The inhabitants participate in all of these projects and are paid in turn according to their contribution. I remember there was a dad who refused to join us at first. Insisting a little more each month, we noticed his progressive involvement and change in attitude towards the project. At the end, he said: “I want my daughter to be like you when she’s grown up: someone who is active, educated.”

Association Sources et Horizons, Tunisia