“Un Enfant, Des Sourires” (UEDS – or One Child, Many Smiles), a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of disadvantaged children, will organize a caravan to provide medical supplies and treatment to children attending three rural schools in Ain Dhrahem.
This initiative, entitled “Inshallah Labess“ – “God willing everything will be alright” in Tunisian Arabic – will embark on the road to Ain Dhrahem in two days. The members of the caravan are scheduled to visit three underprivileged schools – Ouled Dhifallah, Zwitina, and Ouled Khmissa - located near the Algerian border in Tunisia’s mountainous northwestern region.
Rim Ben Arrous, the president of the association, explained that this three-day program aims to provide children in marginalized rural areas with indispensible medical supplies and treatment. Food, blankets, shoes, coats, and gloves will also be distributed to help overcome basic shortcomings that have an immediate effect on the standard of living of the region’s children.
“It’s not the first time that we have visited these locations. This is eighth time that we’ve visited Ouled Dhifallah, and we are very aware of the gravity of the situation there,” stated Ben Arrous. She explained that some of the children in these areas have never received proper medical care from a doctor, and that chronic poverty and this winter’s harsh weather have had serious, adverse effects on the children’s health.
According to Ben Arrous, the caravan plans on providing treatment to approximately 500 children throughout the course of this three-day initiative. 12 healthcare professionals, consisting of physicians, dentists, ophthalmologists, and nurses, have volunteered their time and expertise to the program.
Ben Arrous explained that the mission was made possible by donations, of both supplies and funding, from interests in the private sector and civil society. “This visit is sponsored by a number of companies, including Carrefour, Colgate, and Bic among others. We have also received help from volunteers who have contributed to the collection of medicine, clothes, food, etc,” she stated.
Following this caravan, Ben Arrous announced that the UEDS will contribute to the improvement of circumstances facing Tunisia’s children in other underdeveloped communities. “Our next visit will be to a school in the suburb of Ariana, where we will help run an artistic workshop for the children in addition to painting and decorating the school,” she stated.
The association ”Un Enfant, Des Sourires,” based in Ariana and established in April 2011, works to provide services to underprivileged children with or without access to familial support.