Tunisia’s Youth Still Struggle A Decade After The Uprising

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Residents of Jelma, Tunisia are seen near the town’s abandoned train station on February 29. Jelma is located about 21 miles from Sidi Bouzeid, where in 2011 Mohamed Bouazizi died after setting himself on fire. His death kicked off popular youth-led protests and ultimately, the Arab Spring.

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Jilani Hablani holds a portrait of his son, Abdelwaheb Hablani, at his home in Jelma, Tunisia. In December 2019, Abdelwaheb Hablani, 25, self-immolated and died. He was working as a day laborer but had not been paid in nearly two years.

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The parents of Abdelwaheb Hablani, Fouzia Araissi (left) and Jilani Hablani, stand in their home in Jelma.

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A man walks down a street in Jelma. Jelma is one example of the many interior towns of Tunisia suffering from high unemployment rates and overall lack of development.

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High school students play pool during a break between classes in Sousse, Tunisia, in February.

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An outdoor market selling produce, household items and second-hand clothing is seen outside the entrance to Sfax. Second-hand sellers have become more common in Tunisia as people haven’t been earning enough to buy new goods or are selling their own things.

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Mohamed Amine Massaaoudi, 21, tried to burn himself to death three years ago because his employer in a mechanic shop mistreated him and paid him only enough to cover transportation to work.

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Ahmed Ferjeni (center), 25, sits at a cafe with a friend in Sousse, after going to the employment agency to try and apply for a job. Ahmed trained as a mechanical engineer but has had trouble finding a job in his field.

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People sit by the seaside looking north towards the Mediterranean Sea, in the town of Sfax.

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People sit by the seaside looking north towards the Mediterranean Sea, in the town of Sfax.

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This story was supported by The GroundTruth project with additional reporting by Shelby Ben Brahim. It was reported in the region before the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Arab Spring
  • Tunisia

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