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| photostory Sahrawi |

ABOVE: Salima Kedi Embarec, 20, pictured in the ruins of a prison used to hold Moroccan soldiers captured during the war, Smara refugee camp, Algeria. Thousands of Sahrawi families have been separated by the war, some for more than 30 years. The UN is trying to set up short visits between families and improve communications. ‘My aunt and uncles and cousins are in the occupied territory. I have only seen pictures; we talk on the phone,’ says Embarec; BELOW: Talvia Mahfud Aida, 18, Dakhla camp, Algeria, where she was born. Between 90,000 and 165,000 Sahrawi live in the four camps. Unusually for refugee camps, they are self-governing. Although there is little work, educational prospects are good. Around 95 per cent of the population is literate, compared with ten per cent in 1975. ‘I hope my future isn’t in Dakhla,’ says Aida. ‘There are no institutions here to work in and this is not our country’

January 2011 www.geog 25

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