by Irene Taylor
THE Balearic government hosted an official welcome for the 155 children from the refugee camps in the Sahara who will be staying with local families until September 8, under the Holidays in Peace programme.
The objective of the programme is to give the children a respite from the harsh condition in the camps, and to provide them with health care.
During the reception at the Consolat de Mar (government headquarters), Victoria Catala, the vicepresident of the Friends of the Saharan People Society, explained that 135 of the children are staying in 28 towns and villages, while 20 are staying in Minorca.
They are all aged between eight and 12 and have been in the Balearics since July 9.
She said that the children receive dental and eye treatment, and their state of nutrition is checked.
Encarnación Pastor, the Balearic minister of immigration, underlined the importance of the programme, which has been held every year since 1987.
She said the objective was “to remove the children from the high temperatures of the desert, improve their quality of life through health treatment and remind Balearic society of the situation of the Saharan people.” The Friends of the Saharan People regularly sends containers of humanitarian aid to the refugee camps in Tindouf (Morocco).

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