A new born baby was found this morning at a municipal dump in El Agba, Manouba to the west of Tunis.
The infant was discovered by a municipal worker wrapped inside a trash bag and apparently discarded on the dump. The sex, circumstances and current status of the child are presently unknown.
Commentating upon a similar case last week, where newborn twins were discovered in an oasis in Al Faouar, Kebili in Tunisia’s south, sociologist Tarek Belhadj told Tunisia Live that the abandonment of new born infants had been increasing since the revolution.
According to Behadj, the abandonment of newly born children was indicative of a general lack of sexual education across the country. Belhadj also used this latest incident to highlight the social stigma many women face after giving birth out of wedlock, insisting that single mothers are likely seen as a burden on their families and communities and often struggling to find employment or a future spouse.
In a phone call with Tunisia Live, Dr Ben Hamda, the head of the National Institute for the Protection of Children, which cares for vulnerable and abandoned children said that the Institute had welcomed 150 children so far in 2016. According to Ben Hamda, 137 children of those within the institute’s care had been born out of wedlock.
Speculating as to the motivation for abandoning any child, Dr Ben Hamda said that often, “women initially fear the reaction of their families, but return later to take their babies back”. According to the Institute, 143 of the 606 children resident at the Institute had been returned to their mothers in this way.
Manouba itself, the region where the child was found, is home to some of the capital’s most marginalized neighborhoods. According to a 2012 government study, 16 percent of those currently living in one of its districts, Dour Hicher are said to be living below the poverty line. More than 14 per cent of the families living in another, Al Battane are classified as requiring the social intervention of the state.
Rahma is preparing a master thesis in Anglo-American studies. She is interested in politics and foreign affairs. Since the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution, she volunteered for several Tunisian associations such as ATIDE, Sawty and others. She writes articles about post-revolution Tunisia.