Thirty percent of all homeless people in in Tunisia are women, a leading homeless association has said.
Speaking to Tunisia Live, Raoudha Somrani, President the Dar Tounes Association attributed the increase in the number of homeless women to familial problems, as well as large numbers disowned after being born out of wedlock. “In Tunisia, sometimes your husband leaves you and you cannot work, so there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Of the more than 500 cases of homelessness registered with the Association, only around half have access to government hostels, as a stagnant economy and shrinking government revenues are impacting upon both the numbers of homeless and the refuges available for them. Somrani also said that around half of their current number had also traveled from the interior hoping to find better opportunities in the country’s larger cities.
Somrani continued, explaining that in the past,”… for 10 dinars you could go to the Souk and get plenty of food. Now with 40 dinars, you can’t even get a proper meal for your family. People had enough money to buy what they needed but not anymore,” adding the main factor contributing to the rise of homelessness is the economic instability pervading the country and the failure of both past and present governments to address it.
While it is important to note that not all homeless people beg, a January study by sociology students under the guidance of sociologist Zouheir Azouzi revealed that as many as 10 percent of Tunisians have asked for money in the street. Six hundred thousand of these were children under the age of 18, working for organized criminal gangs the researchers said.