From a Special Correspondent
WHAT may at first appear to be a rather tenuous connection between the removal of rooftops from village houses during the Algerian war and the disruption of the Algerian economy has resulted in the allocation this week of £4,720 by Oxfam to the Catholic Relief Services.
To prevent F.L.N. members hiding from spotter planes in the houses of evacuated villages, the French Army removed all the roofs from the houses and generally made the villages uninhabitable.
Now that the war is over, the villagers are loath to return to the poverty of their old life, and are more inclined to make their way to France and learn a trade there, to the ultimate detriment of the Algerian economy.
Officials in Algeria recognise that the answer is to provide training at home.
In the town of Tizi Ol17011, the White Fathers have started a training school for office staff, a branch of commerce that has been neglected in the desperate need to re-build industry.
There are three courses at the school-book-keeping. typing and draughtsmanship. The centre, a two-storey and a single-storey building, is to be enlarged by the construction of another storey on top of the taller building.
Oxfam has already allocated £4,000 to this scheme, through Catholic Relief Services, and another £1,720 is to follow this week. Twenty students will attend a second year course when the building is completed.
A further £3,000 is to be channelled through C.R.S. this week to the White Fathers to help build a motor mechanics' section at a workshop run by the Fathers at Djemaa N'Saharidj, where there is already a handicraft and locksmith section. This training centre is held in great respect not only by the local tribesmen but by the Algerian government as well, who agree that "the quality of the training given by the White Fathers is the best in the country."