Library for 10,000 Moroccan Berbers

 
$50,188
$18,012
Raised
Remaining
Jun 28, 2010

Exterior Renovation Complete!

New towers on the library.
New towers on the library.

I just returned from nearly four months working in the field. It was an extremely successful trip on numerous levels.

We finished the exterior renovation of the igherm including the martoub (stucco finish), new roofs and reconstruction of the six original decorative towers. The local association Amezray SMNID has provided the project with potable water and will be responsible for oversight of the library's operations and finances. The French Association Les Amis de Amezray has agreed to sponsor and oversee the training of locals to become librarians. Montana State University graduate architecture student Jaron Mickolio completed the design for the computer rooms, reading room and book stacks. The Caid of Zawiya Ahansal will be donating all of the local government's history books on the region, tribal records and family trees to be housed in the library. They want the library to be a place for researchers and professionals to come and study in addition to being for locals and school children. The library will serve over 10,000 local men, women and children.

During my visit I attended numerous meetings focused on the future of Zawiya Ahansal with the local government and tribal leaders including the Sheikh, Caid, Moqaddam and Caliph. At the moment Zawiya is lucky because its leaders are very open-minded and eager to develop the region in a sustainable manner that respects their culture. They are so grateful for all that we are doing in the region that on more than one occasion I saw these grown government men cry – with real tears of happiness for our work and efforts in the region!

"These historic buildings hold the history of Morocco and if we let them die then we will be letting an important piece of Morocco die with them," Sheikh Ahmed Amahdar

The Moroccan Ministry of Culture heard about the project and invited me to Beni Mellal, the provincial capital, to present our work. As a result of this presentation they have offered to partner with us and expand our work to include another project in the local village of Aguddim. This new project will begin in September and will include the restoration of a 300 year-old igherm into a professional residence. This igherm was originally a saint's house and once renovated will provide visiting researchers, authors, and artists a historic yet modern place to live and work for extended periods of time.

In addition to talking with the government about restoration projects we also talked about the most pressing needs in the region in the areas of education, health, and economics. They have provided me with a list of their top five needs. Among these is providing clean drinking water to five very small villages in the region, an ambulance, a snow plow (so the ambulance can get out in winter), trail work to Taghia, a boarding house for school girls and a garbage incinerator.

With our new partnerships in Morocco we hope to expand our mission and slowly include projects that focus on both restoration and health, education and economics.

What do you think is the highest priority in the region for our future projects?

I will return to Morocco in September and we will begin construction on the library, break ground on the professional's residence and begin discussions on our future goals.

Moqaddam, the village
Moqaddam, the village's tribal representative.
A local family that will benefit from the library.
A local family that will benefit from the library.
Home of the future professional
Home of the future professional's residence.
Residence will be renovated to original condition.
Residence will be renovated to original condition.
Cloe Erickson meets with local leaders.
Cloe Erickson meets with local leaders.

Links:

Apr 6, 2010

Restoration Resumes

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The harsh winter of Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mountains is waning and restoration of the igherm is now able to resume for the nest two and a half months. Our goals for this period include completing the martoub (exterior stucco finish), refurbishing the traditional wood and clay roofs and rebuilding the six decorative towers. One week ago, the local restoration crew began collecting soil for the martoub in preparation for my arrival on March 31.

Mohammed Taiboosh, one of the restoration laborers and also a member of igherm’s proprietary tribe, Ait Bin Ahmed, has three sons that will benefit from the project.

“I am so happy and grateful for this project,” said Taiboosh, “it is going to provide educational opportunities that have never before been available in this region.”

Historically, the majority of the residents of Zawiya Ahansal are illiterate, but Taiboosh has hope for his childrens’ generation and believes the igherm project will help boost their positions in society and future opportunities.

“Literacy is the light for their future. Illiteracy is nothing but darkness.”

At the end of April l will lead a group of project donors on a ten-day excursion through Morocco. The trip is organized through Bella Treks LLC and will include a four-day visit to Zawiya Ahansal and the project site. The donors will meet with the people that will directly benefit from their generous donations.

For the second year, the project has partnered with Montana State University and will bring a group of students to Morocco for five weeks in Morocco. The students will work with the community on the establishment and design of the library, books stacks, computer room and coffee shop.

Cloe Medina Erickson, project manager

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Jan 29, 2010

Spring '10 Construction Preparations

Martoub application.
Martoub application.

While the region has been blanketed in cold and snowy weather the project team has been busy preparing for this spring and summer's work to begin. Construction on the igherm is slated to restart April 1. First, the team of local craftsmen will finish the martoub, protective lime plaster coating, on the exterior of the building. Next, with funding from the French Association Amis de Amezray, they will completely restore the igherm's roofs and rebuild the six towers' historic ornamentation. This will complete the exterior renovation of the igherm. If time allows before the heat of summer sets in, they will begin the renovation of the interior in preparation for the book stacks and also the renovation of the community room to house the computers donated by The Nobelity Foundation.

The local association, Amezray SMNID, has sent in a request to the Moroccan National Library for books. At the end of April Cloe Medina Erickson will bring a group of donors to visit the project and see the impact of their dollars first hand. And in May and June a group of university students will study with Erickson and work on the igherm.

Erickson meets with the association Amezray SMNID.
Erickson meets with the association Amezray SMNID.
Oct 27, 2009

13 Computers Donated to Library

Laptops arrived in Morocco last week.
Laptops arrived in Morocco last week.

Thanks to Dell, the 50x15 Foundation, and The Nobelity Project for donating five new laptops and eight new OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) computers to the library. The Dell laptops were delivered to Morocco last week and the OLPC's will arrive in the spring. The computers will be available for use in the library's community room and will provide previously unavailable access to 10,000 permanent and seasonal residents.

Sep 23, 2009

The Nobelity Project, Dell and 50x15 donate computers to library.

School children running to school.
School children running to school.

Thanks to The Nobelity Project, Dell, and the 50×15 foundation for donating 13 computers to the library! Through the Nobelity Project, a certified 501(c)3 education and action non-profit, 8 OLPC’s and 4 laptops have been donated for use in the community room of the library. The computers will be used to teach locals, adults and children, about basic computer use through a series of training workshops.

The Nobelity Project, founded by Turk Pipkin, is working towards a better future of all our children. One of our principal goals is to connect people all over the world with reliable information and innovative thinking on pressing global problems like global warming, the energy challenge, global health, economic disparity and development, cultural understanding, nuclear proliferation and general question of war and peace.

Turk Pipkin is the director of One Peace at a Time, an inspiring feature documentary highlighting solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The film includes the insights of Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Physicist Steven Chu, (Barack Obama’s Secretary of Energy), Dr. Helene Gayle (CEO of CARE, International), American legend Willie Nelson and many others.

Young girls who will benefit from the new computers.
Young girls who will benefit from the new computers.
The library.
The library.

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Cloe Medina Erickson

Project Developer/Manager
Livingston, MT United States

This project is being run by a socially-oriented for-profit company.

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Where is this project located?

Map of Library for 10,000 Moroccan Berbers