Exceeding Unexpected Expectations
Amis Des Écoles, along with the rest of the world, has deviated from the plan for 2020 in these last few months. When we thought we would be offering skills training at our newly opened Women’s Training Center in Oussertek and finishing classroom insulations in Midelt and Tata, we ended up organizing volunteers and raising funds to offer emergency provisions to over 5,000 families in the region. While the global pandemic has upended everyone’s expectations for these last few months, the crisis has reinforced the relationships we have with our partner communities, who expected us to rise to the challenge.
Our model for development and uplift at Amis Des Écoles focuses on the entire community and meeting the ad hoc needs that each presents. We listen to children, parents, leaders, teachers, and youth to understand where they need support and how we can offer it to them. Amis Des Écoles does not utilize a template plan to be replicated in one village after another, rather we identify challenges and determine solutions in partnership with the community.
This means that, aside from our work directly supporting educational resources and facilities, we have installed community laundromats in order to free up women’s time for learning and skills training. We engage with local law enforcement to provide road safety information and strengthen inter-community relationships. There is a large portion of our work which one may not expect to fall under the responsibilities of an organization focused on improving rural students’ access to quality education.
This dynamic of holistic collaboration with each village offers a strong foundation upon which to build trust that we will listen and respond when needs arise. Our approach fosters expectations that Amis Des Écoles is there for our partners for any and all obstacles that they confront. It was exactly these expectations that cued us to quickly pivot from our current projects and direct our efforts to collecting funds for crisis food packs.
As the case numbers decline and we look forward to the country reopening, we reflect on the ways that our supporters–individuals, partner organizations, and corporations–have stepped up in service to others. Thanks to their perseverance and generosity, particularly in the holy month of Ramadan, we were able to increase our goals for the number of families reached time and time again.
Thank you for sticking with us and standing up for our friends in Tata, Oussertek, Midelt, the many other small villages in the region, and the nomadic people who roam that vast territory. Cheers to meeting and exceeding expectations and extending this energy into the rest of 2020.