Stories: Mauritania

  • ‘We Are Not Yet Free’: Living in Slavery’s Shadow in Mauritania

    NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania—Maatalla Mboirick’s home sits a few hundred meters off the main road of this desert city, past high mounds of orange sand. It is little more than a collection of tarps affixed to wooden beams and scrap metal. Thin mattresses and sturdy pillows line the interior of a tent at the back of the property,...

  • Mauritania’s Veterans in the Fight Against Sexual Violence

    NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA – Behind a bright turquoise gate, the El Wafa Center opens into a sandy courtyard. A group of women sit in the shade of an aluminum awning, escaping the blazing midday sun, while children play in the sand. Zeinebou Mint Taleb Moussa moves around the grounds, as the women and young children run up to shake her hand....

  • Stalled

    Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania – Nana Mint Cheybani has abandoned the thought of going back to Mali. Life in Mbera refugee camp, on the southeast corner of Mauritania, a desert country on the coast of West Africa, is tough. Tensions between refugees and locals regularly flare up over access to local resources and the camp suffers from chronic underfunding. ...

  • Refugees in Mauritania in lonely fight for mental health care

    MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania – As tens of thousands of refugees from Mali remain displaced in this expansive camp, families are growing increasingly concerned by a lack of support for their mental health and well-being. Humanitarian groups working in Mbera refugee camp say a lack of funds and expertise makes providing care for survivors of trauma and violence difficult, especially...

  • An uneasy coexistence in the Mauritanian desert

    Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania - It is often difficult to know where the sprawling Mbera refugee camp ends, and the desolate, desert communities of southeastern Mauritania begin. Both spring up almost unexpectedly from the mounds of orange sand and shrubs: tents made from tarps fastened to curved tree branches, animal pens, and the odd mud-brick, tin or aluminium structure. ...

  • Syrian refugees in Mauritania dream of resettlement

    NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Mohamad Mudar Oulabie knows he doesn't have many choices. But after almost five years in Mauritania, an impoverished and isolated country on the coast of West Africa, the 52-year-old father of four is becoming increasingly frustrated. Today, making an irregular crossing to Europe, despite numerous dangers, is on his mind. "That's the last resort," Oulabie...