What is the limit of what is habitable?
Saharan women, like those in the photo in Tindouf (Algeria), impressively built the camps out of nothing, turning the place into a habitable one (what is the limit of what is habitable?), setting up schools and hospitals, reorganising a life they had lost while the men fought and died in a faraway war. The ecological and environmental conditions in which they live limit their development daily: no access to drinking water, no chances of growing crops, under extreme heat, dependent on humanitarian aid from day to day. This kind of life –with no future to look towards- still exists in the 21st century, when the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO 2030) are calling for sustainable human development for everyone.
There are many humanitarian projects that are developed in the area where, according to a recent census (ACNUR 2018) live over 175,000 people. The Autonomous University of Madrid has been working for more than 10 years on training projects demanded by the Saharawi authorities and in three very specific areas: health, education and empowerment. These actions allow knowledge to be transmitted to the population in a way that makes them more autonomous and able to exercise and improve their professional activity. The transmission of knowledge is undoubtedly one of the most sustainable issues that can be offered. Knowledge always remains.
Silvia Arias Careaga, PhD in Biological Sciences and director of the Office of Action for Solidarity and Cooperation of the UAM