As 2019 winds down, it’s important that we reflect on our accomplishments and thank those who helped make all of our achievements possible. Since our founding 13 years ago, we have made large strides in improving the quality of life for the children and citizens of the villages that we work in. This year in particular has been monumental for us thanks to our increased presence on social media and our new partnerships with Breakthrough USA, GIZ, OCP, and Terre Plurielle. Before we wind down for the season, we’d like to highlight a few of our major accomplishments.
1) Women’s Training Center in Oussertek
Our women’s training center in the Oussertek Valley is now open for business! On Saturday November 16th 2019, our center was officially inaugurated and opened as a place for local women to learn marketable skills, like sewing, crochet, weaving, cooking and preserving fruits and veggies. It is also a destination for volunteers, hikers and tourists. The terrace has a Moroccan salon for beautiful views, tea and food. The 1st floor has a mini studio for trainers to stay and a large kitchen where the local women can cook and make preserves. The ground floor has a large open space for workshops – here volunteer trainers can help teach the women new skills. The ground floor also has office space and a storage room for supplies. We are grateful to our partners and donors INDH, W4WIN (Women4women In Need) represented by Sonia Adnane, the Sadhu Vaswani Center in Casablanca, Maroc Bureau, and a few anonymous donors who have helped make this project happen.
2) Sustainable Building Project in Tata and Midelt
One of our most exciting new projects this year is our partnership with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, or the “GIZ”, a German international development corporation that implements technical projects. Their mission is to plan, fund and execute economic development projects that focus on social inclusion and environmental protection. Amis Des Ecoles has been working with the “GIZ” and Eva Klewno, our partner architect, to renovate 3 schools in Tata and 2 preschools in Midelt. Our main goal is to develop a comfortable learning space for students during the winter and the summer. As with many rural regions in Morocco, Tata and Midelt struggle with subzero temperatures in the winter and stifling heat in the summer (Over 50 Celsius!). With the help of Klewno Architecture, we will refit these learning spaces with high-tech insulation like cork and rock wool and add economically viable heating and cooling solutions ultimately creating a comfortable climate in these classrooms so that the children can focus on learning. Learn more about this project by reading our blog.
3) Multimedia Center and Library in Oussertek
This center was built by Act4community, employees of the OCP group. It is destined not only for all the children of the village as a place to read and check out books, but also for interested adults to be able to use the computer to learn a language or any subject. Teachers from the local school can also use the center to enhance their classroom teaching and teach computer skills. This project was financed entirely by OCP. We are now raising funds for a librarian / facilitator to manage the facility and make sure the local children and villagers can use this amazing resource to it’s fullest capacity.
4) 5,000 Fruit Trees and 5 school gardens in Oussertek and Tata
The Philippe Porte family donated 15,000 Euros in his name after his passing to build a reservoir and to plant over 4,000 trees in Oussertek and to plant vegetable gardens in 5 schools in Tata. This project was completed in July and over 1,600 families will benefit from the fruit harvests, both for personal consumption and from the ability to preserve and sell fruits to passing tourists. Environmental projects, such as tree planting and environmental awareness, are one of the vital activities that we promote. We teach the children how to plant trees and gardens and how to install the irrigation-drip system in school yards. Since Amis des Ecoles was founded in 2006, we have planted over 8,700 trees throughout Morocco. This system teaches students to be aware of their environment and to not take their water usage for granted; while contributing to the civic education of the students.
5) Aguerzagn “Show School” in Tata
In the Tata region, we are almost finished renovating our “show school”, named Aguerzagn located in Adis Tata. Aguerzagn will be our model school for all of our future renovations. This school has currently 18 children enrolled, but our goal with the renovations is to attract more local children who have elected not to attend school due to the dilapidated facilities and lack of security. We are building a wall around the premises to avoid vandalism from people and animals. We are refurbishing the toilets and the water fountain. We have tiled the two classrooms and the future library with our beautiful Popham Design tiles (Popham had donated over 25 tonnes of tiles to Amis Des Écoles this year alone!). The library has been renovated and books were curated by our partner Amina Hachimi Alaoui from Yanbow Alkitab. Next year we will insulate the classrooms with funding from the GIZ project. The planting of the pedagogical garden, and tree planting will be done in parallel. By using this school as our “show school”, we can give future donors, partners and volunteer a clearer picture of what can be accomplished in every school that we touch. Apart from the school renovation in Tata, we have built over 20 water fountains in the region, distributed 800 pairs of prescription glasses, installed 30 water boilers for showers in school boarding houses, distributed 11,000 pieces of clothing, 2 tons of food, and 2,000 books to various schools in the Tata region.
Our deepest thanks to all of our partners and donors who have contributed to our success this year. We wish you all the happiest of Holiday Seasons.
Amal Zniber, President and Founder