- Title: ALGERIA: Poor Algerian families rely on Ramadan food sales
- Date: 6th September 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CUSTOMER, KAMEL, SAYING: "We get bread everyday during Ramadan, I don't come as often in other parts of the year but in Ramadan I come here everyday." NASSIMA HELPING PREPARE BREAD (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CUSTOMER, KAMEL, SAYING: "In Ramadan we can't eat normal bread, we prefer the traditional one as it's very good when eaten with soup."
- Embargoed: 21st September 2010 13:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Economic News,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVAEOEY9GYQNTVFMNNWP7MO94C4X
- Story Text: A poor family of eight makes some extra cash during the holy month of Ramadan. The mother makes a type of traditional festive bread and the children sell it in the streets.
As Ramadan draws to a close, so does the opportunity that has brought poor Algerian families temporary relief.
The holy month of fasting is traditionally a time when people prefer to help the poor and buy traditional foods for the large meals at sunset when observing and able-bodied Muslims break their fast.
Algeria has around 23 percent of its population living below the poverty line, the majority of whom are in rural areas according to the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD).
Many of the poor families capitalise on the temporary increase in market activity every Ramadan by baking and cooking traditional foods.
Fatima and her family, a household of eight, make their living by making traditional bread on an open fire pan in the backyard of their rundown home.
"I've done this for three years. We do this because we're poor and need the money, my husband doesn't work and no one works to feed me. So I have to work, I work during the whole year and I work even harder during Ramadan. If I don't do this then my daughter won't be able to go to school."
"We try to get the minimum money needed to make a living," she said.
Fatima, 65, makes large amounts of bread and keeps them beneath a towel beside her to preserve the heat. Her 15-year-old daughter Nassima then takes the pile of fresh bread and heads to the busy highway trying to sell the bread to motorists.
"We get bread everyday during Ramadan, I don't come as often in other parts of the year but in Ramadan I come here everyday," said Kamel, a regular customer.
Bread sold in supermarkets is sold up to three times cheaper than the traditional home-made alternative, but many opt for the older-style of bread that costs 30 Algerian Dinars (around 40 U.S. cents).
Daughter Nassima manages to balance selling the bread with keeping an eye on her little siblings, but she says her work is the norm, not the exception.
"I sell bread, we need the money to buy things we need. Many kids work like me and sell bread, I'm not the only one," she said.
But the girl says she wants a brighter future that will bring her family out of poverty.
"When I grow up I want to be a doctor to help my parents and give them back a little of what they have done for me when I was small, and then we can forget about the bread," she said.
Algeria still has a major problem with unemployment, especially in rural areas where low incomes and large households exacerbate the problems. IFAD says many wishing to farm land are facing difficult hurdles like soil erosion, degradation, increasing salinity, poor drainage and a lack of financial services that allow them to buy equipment needed for any future harvest.
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