Algeria – English Classes

for Saharawi Refugees


When Spain abandoned its colonial occupation in the South of Morocco in 1975, severe conflicts erupted in the area between various factions. As a result, many Sahrawis fled to neighbouring Algeria. Despite a mediation from the United Nations and a ceasefire established in 1991, the conflict is still unresolved to this day, which means that between 150’000 and 180’000 Sahrawis still live in what some consider to be one of the oldest refugee camps in the world.

Problem and Vision

Job opportunities are extremely limited in the camps. English language skills can help Sahrawis find employment with their authorities or other NGOs in the refugee camps.

Meaningful and long-term employment can also help break the intergenerational poverty that has prevailed since the flight almost 50 years ago. Furthermore, knowledge of English enables Saharawis to participate in global society and engage constructively with issues having to do with their difficult situation.

Our Project

With the blessing of the local authorities, we build and run English language schools where young adults can acquire valuable skills. The aim of our Essalam centres is to prepare adult students to be able to communicate in English both informally and professionally.

A four-level programme is offered with a Cambridge curriculum and computer labs. We currently run two centres in two of the five camps with a total enrolment of just over 200 students per year. In addition to local teachers, we employ foreign native speakers to teach at the higher levels. We also train graduates of our programme to teach English and provide training for English teachers from local schools.

Portrait Simon Mumenthaler

Simon Mumenthaler

Member of the board

"It is inspiring to see how the projects have a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged people and how PartnerAid is bringing about real change through collaboration and partnering."