The Western Sahara Support Group is a charitable trust born out of a long standing relationship with the Sahrawi people going back over 20 years.
The WSSG is a governed by a board of trustees who aim to support a range of projects in the Western Saharan refugee camps by fundraising to make these initiatives become a reality. The projects are inspired by the self-determined needs of the Sahrawi who will ultimately be responsible for delivering the outcomes. The trustees oversee the use of funds and monitor and hold the projects to account to ensure value for money and best outcomes to benefit as wide a number of people as possible. Our overriding aim is to extend a hand of solidarity and friendship with a largely forgotten and dispossessed people.
The connection between Levenshulme Woodcraft and the Sahrawi began in 2000 at a campsite in Anglesey when a group of young children came over.
Later at Global Village in 2006 a group of adults camped with us. A favourite memory of this time was on a day trip to London when we went on an escalator and Gaboula (on the far right in the picture) was shrieking in astonishment as it moved!
In 2007 Levenshulme Woodcraft Folk hosted a group of 8 children from the Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf in Algeria. To enable them to come over we raised money for flights, visas, and a programme of events including a weekend in Conwy. They stayed with 5 families in Levenshulme and Longsight for the first 2 weeks and then were welcomed by Birkenhead Woodcraft Folk who hosted them for the final two weeks of their months stay in the UK.
Levenshulme Woodcraft Folk maintained links with the children and their families. The following year a group of 10 adults and children from Levenshulme Woodcraft were invited to visit them in the camps in the harsh Algerian desert.
During this visit bonds were made with the families and thanks to social media we have been able to keep in touch over the last ten years. All the children from Levenshulme and the camps have grown up and some now have own young families who will be the second generation born away from, and may never see, their homeland.
We have set up this charity to support the Sahrawi and to enable them to have as much independence and self-reliance as is possible in a refugee camp where you have no freedom of movement, no nationality, no right to a passport, no choices.