Morocco Back to School Project
Education is considered as one of the pillars of society. It contributes to the development of any country in all sectors including the economy, public health, justice system social services, etc. In Morocco, however, education still needs to be placed by the government as a top priority of their political agenda. Since Morocco’s independence, its educational system has faced many setbacks, and despite the various reform stages it has witnessed, none of them has succeeded to resolve the heart of the problem and provide long lasting sustainable solutions for universal quality education and high rates of enrollment. The Pistorio Foundation has partnered with the “Centre d’Azrou pour le Développement Communautaire” (ACCD) of the Al Akhawayn University, to improve the living conditions of children of disadvantaged communities of the region of Azrou by providing educational opportunities to school drop-outs from the poorest families.
The project was launched in July 2010 and will support, in conformity with the government curriculum for Non-Formal Education, the education of 40 underprivileged children who have dropped out of school. These children come from very poor families in critical situations. Most of them have been out of school for 3 or more years. The living conditions often push children to live on the streets and in many instances to engage in criminal behavior. Most of these children work on the streets begging or selling plastic at the souk for derisory sums to help support their families.
The Program consists of a two-year cycle. The projects admit students from the age of 8 to 16. Older students receive professional training classes in Wood Carving, Hairstyling, Weaving and Tailoring. The children also take classes in IT, Physical Education and Art, and take part in extra-curricular activities, such as sports and cultural competitions, as well as class excursions. The Foundation provides for school supplies and for one meal per day in the school. Scholarship fees also cover regular medical check-ups and primary health care and specialist doctors’ consultations.
We had embarked in the project with the initial objective of reinserting them within the public school system after two years of the Program. We soon realized, however, that the primary reason for school drop-out was the violence and abuse from teachers in public schools, more so than the lack of motivation from students.
At the Center, children are so motivated they have asked to extend the program to the summer months which has been done. The children refuse to return to the public school system. We have therefore decided to extend the program to more years until the students can enroll in external Professional Schools.
Based on the excellent results and positive impact our program has had on the lives of many children and the local community, we received the compliments of the Moroccan Minister of Education. It recognized our center as the most successful Non Formal Education program rolled out in the country. The project moved forward in 2013 with the construction of a school at our partner’s premises that is fully dedicated to the implementation of NFE Program. The building can count on all the facilities needed for an environment conducive to high quality education such as workshop rooms, sanitation facilities, well-equipped classrooms, kitchen and canteen.
OUR RESULTS AND IMPACT
Our programs and results are as follows:
Scholarship Program – 40 children are supported in Azrou
Outcomes since the Inception of the Program – the project started in 2010 has reached 245 students.