Education for All - High Atlas Mountains. Projects
The High Atlas features some of the most beautiful regions of Morocco. These mountains are the highest in the area, with Toubkal reaching to 4165 metres above sea level. Asni is situated in the foothills of the High Atlas and is a small town lying on the two main routes into the Atlas Mountains. The High Atlas villages are Berber, where hospitality and warm friendliness are deeply-rooted in the culture. Morocco is a country in transition and with an increasing proportion of youth. Slow but steady economic growth has helped reduce poverty rates, but, in most rural communities, there is still real economic poverty and a dearth of available opportunities for education. School dropout rates are high in Morocco (about 38 per cent for both elementary and secondary levels according to UNICEF). Literacy rates have improved in the past few years, but remain very low for women, at 38 per cent,(UNICEF). Very few girls from rural communities in Morocco continue their education after primary school. The secondary colleges are too far away from the villages for the girls to travel every day. Their parents are too poor to afford lodgings near to the colleges, and available accommodation is usually over stretched and inadequate. Parents do not have the confidence in any of the facilities to entrust their daughters to be away from their rural communities. Education For All provides boarding houses for girls in the High Atlas Mountains. They can gain access to a secondary education and the chance to fulfil their potential in an environment that promotes academic study and social understanding. The goal is to make a difference to the lives of these girls now, and thus change many more in the future.
This innovative project is also working towards Goal 3 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG), specifically: to promote gender equality and empower women. The MDG Goal 3 target is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.
The boarding houses are more than just a place to stay! The girls are offered activities and experiences to support and enrich their education, beyond what they learn at school. Without the boarding houses it would be impossible for these girls to attend secondary schools - they all come from remote villages high in the Atlas Mountains. They are all so keen to make the most of the opportunity they have been given. They work incredibly hard as they are determined to pass their exams, and they also enjoy living in the supportive and caring atmosphere which the boarding house provides. It was a privilege to work with them.