Last Saturday Maartje Piersma won the UvA Alumnus Award for our project in the South-Western Sahara. "The UvA Alumnus award is an incentive for UvA alumni who, via an appealing and innovative project, make a special contribution to society. The winner is an inspiration to others and serves as a promise for the future."
After visiting the South-Western Sahara last May, we are currently setting upa local Solar Cinema in collaboration with FiSahara film festival and the TheAbidin Kaid Saleh audiovisual school.
The Western Sahara’s almost four-decade conflict is one of the world’s most invisible crises. Exactly 40 years ago Morocco and Mauritania occupied the Western Sahara when Spain, the former colonial power, reached an agreement allowing the invasion to go forward. Thousands of Sahrawis, including many women and children, fled from the repression that followed and crossed into Algeria, where they were allowed to settle near the town of Tindouf.
Access to basic services such as drinking water, electricity and food is scarce. Basic life in this remote, isolated corner of the desert cannot be sustained in this environment, and the camps are completely dependent on foreign humanitarian aid. The population has very little access to culture, leisure and entertainment and suffers from extreme social and geographic isolation. We are planning to launch Sahrawi Solar Cinema in May 2016. The Alumnus Award is a great contribution to this goal!