Since Amis Des Écoles was founded 13 years ago, our mission has been to enhance educational opportunities for children living in poverty in remote regions. With needs so great, and our organization’s resources so limited (we rely strictly on donations) we must first identify areas of need and then determine where our investment will have the greatest long-term impact. One of my greatest accomplishments is Rawd El Amal located in Oussertek, which was named by the villagers and means “Nursery School of Hope”, which we built and launched in 2011. To date, 220 children, 4-6 years or age have graduated from our nursery school and gone on to primary school to become some of the best students in their classes.
I must first explain that our organization acts as a supplement to government funded schools. Amis Des Écoles renovates and insulates dilapidated schools, builds sanitary facilities (most have no bathrooms or fountains for the children to wash) provides books and supplies, and offers programs outside of the basic school curriculum such as reading programs, language and computer training and youth programs such as substance abuse prevention, violence prevention and internet safety. We work closely with local government officials to ensure a collaborative relationship where the needs of the children are always put first.
Why Nursery School Makes a Difference
The villages that we work in – Tata Laayoune and the Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz region have extremely high poverty levels, as much as 90%, which means that families are often times unable to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing. Nursery schools are non existent in these areas. Children in these regions begin life with a severe disadvantage that often times can never be recovered, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Educators and professionals have long since recognized the importance of nursery school education for children. Some of the proven benefits of nursery school education are as follows:
- Prepares the child for primary and secondary education – Nursery school education is the foundation and pacesetter of all other education levels to follow. The children are taught the basics of the education like alphabets and numbers.
- Teaches children to be independent and make choices – Children are exposed to an independent life while being supported by professional teachers who are with them always.
- They grow socially and emotionally – Nursery school exposes the children to shared facilities where they learn to live with others and make new friends who have different abilities. They also learn to sympathize with others when they are suffering and say sorry when they are wrong.
Rawd El Amal
Rawd El Amal “Nursery School of Hope” was a construction project financed 8 years ago by Marsa Maroc, a Moroccan company that operates our nation’s sea ports. After construction, Amis Des Écoles, furnished the school, hired a local nursery school teacher and has provided school supplies and clothes for the teacher and the students. Our longtime partner, Amina Hachimi Alaoui from Yanbow Al Kitab trained our teacher to use pedagogical tools, such as learn by play methods. Currently we have 23 students enrolled in our nursery school. The yearly cost to maintain Rawd El Amal is $8,000 US Dollars. However, after 8 years, our nursery school is falling into disrepair. We are currently seeking $13,000 USD in donations to fund the following renovations and upgrades.
- Floor and Wall Insulation – The weather is very harsh in the mountain. Winters can be long and cold and so comfort in a classroom is very important for the teacher as well as for the students. We need to install double glazed windows and insulation in the roof, wall, and floor.
- Renovation of Toilet/Shower – After 8 years, our toilet and shower are no longer operational. We need to repair the plumbing and install new hardware.
- Teacher Training – Our nursery school teacher is in need of training for modern nursery school and educational methods such as learning through activities, sensory learning, and growth through imagination.
Data has shown that children graduating from our nursery school and entering primary school have a much more solid foundation for primary school, are more independent and more socially skilled than children who have not attended nursery school. Their chances of completing primary school are also much higher which allows these children a much better opportunity in life and a way out of poverty.
Thank you, your support means the world to us and everything to the children.