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Founded in December 1999, this not-for-profit association supplies books and school materials collected in France to the remote regions of Saharan Mauritania.
In 1998, Joëlle Meynier-Aliche and Catherine Labrosse-Panet visited Mauritania for the first time – one of the world's poorest countries, where almost half the population is under 14. In this land of shifting sands and ancient libraries, whose treasures include Moorish manucripts dating back to the 12th century, the region's nomads are committed to educating their children and encouraging their desire to learn. But books are in short supply. The two friends decided to found the association Mille pages pour les enfants des dunes ("A thousand pages for the children of the dunes").
For the past ten years, the needs of the local population have been assessed on the ground. In France, volunteers and partner schools support this project by supplying textbooks and encyclopedias. Fundraising activities pay for extras such as schoolbags, exercise books, slates, pencils, pens and paper.
The collected materials are flown to Mauritania by charter, in association with Africa travel specialists Point Afrique. The parcels are received and stored by Mille pages's local representative Brahim, ready for delivery by teams of volunteers to the country's primary schools, junior schools and lycées.
The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has supported Mille pages's commitment to cultural and social solidarity since 2008.