The Harsh Beauty and Quiet Curse of Slavery


A country in northwestern Africa bordering the Atlantic Ocean, in the Sahel zone. Mauritania is mostly covered by the sands of Sahara (in more than 80%). It is the fourth most sensitive country in the world in terms of climate changes. The recurring cycles of long-term drought (resulting in degradation of natural resources) and the aggravating water deficit additionally contribute to lack of food safety, from which the country suffers. Although it is populated by only 4.4 million people, it is a classic example of the problem of hunger caused by poverty and insufficient production of food.

  • one of the poorest countries in the world – in some of its regions, people live off less than 1.25 USD per day
  • due to the food deficit, the country has to import 70% of its food
  • 21% of children below 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • 8% of the population in the dry season – which lasts even 6 months – copes with lack of food security
In 2023, we helped


children suffering from hunger or moderate malnutrition
We also provided medical care to about

a dozen

people with disabilities


The Sahara is both beautiful and harsh. It commands respect. Tourists, who visit briefly, see its beauty but don’t grasp how harsh it is. For those who know no other climate, life here is easier. They understand that one does not argue with the desert. Any form of disobedience carries severe consequences.

Slavery doesn’t need bars or chains. Those are for people who know freedom. Those who have lived here for generations are enslaved mentally, they inherit servitude and fear freedom.

The caste system is powerful. It ensures everyone in the society has their place and fulfills their role. One knows not to step out of the bounds of their assigned position, not to aspire beyond what their status allows.

I don’t know if it’s the Sahara’s harshness that has made people accustomed to this. But I do know that one in five Mauritanians is still a slave. Officially abolished in 1981, slavery still runs through the veins of this nation like a poison. This is unmatched by any other country. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Mauritanian government legally recognized slavery as a crime, but this has merely been a token gesture. It’s met with a dismissive smile, akin to an imaginary law against riding a donkey without a seatbelt.

Slavery in Mauritania is inherited, and there’s still a belief that being owned by someone else paves the way to heaven. This doesn’t make much sense in the harsh Sahara, because slavery simply doesn’t make sense at all.

Slavery is like the Sahara itself. It dictates when and where you have to go. In August, Mauritania’s soil burns red-hot, not allowing people to live where they want. They have to find a place and a job that lets them survive, even if it means just one meal a day. We can’t change their need to move any more than we can repeal the Sahara’s harshness with a bill.

What if we followed these people? Followed them wherever they must go. We could feed them, support, and help not in one place, but on their journey, and we could firmly believe that someday they will find their own path to freedom.

Urgent Help Needed

Save the Pharmacy for the Poorest in Togo

This amount will allow for equipping pharmacy shelves for the first half of the year. Ania and Mateusz will take care of this, and they will fly to Togo in February and fill the shelves with the most essential antibiotics, antimalarial drugs, and pain relievers. The Saoudé Pharmacy has people to save. It cannot succeed without your support.

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We already have :
3,420 EUR
We need:
6,667 EUR