As we step towards the month of March, we are aware of the many celebrations for International Women's Day- which has extended to International Women's Week for us at Education For All (EFA). This year, the focus is on 'equity' which differs slightly from equality in that it focuses not only on having the same rights, but also the same opportunities.
Access to education is key to equity, as without an education, so many opportunities and rights cannot be realised. We see first hand at EFA what access to education does to uplift a girl. First there is the confidence that she is valued. Secondly there is the growing ambition- daring to dream about a future which is different, better than Mum's.
At EFA there is also the community aspect; living with other girls in the same position, who also come from a generation of women who were not educated, who have also struggled to find a way to go to school and then found that way through EFA. Then there is the flourishing, as the girls get to know what they are good at and to use the many resources available at the EFA houses- a library, computers, international volunteers who teach them English or Science.
They also learn about self-care, from the dedicated House Mother who encourages them throughout the demanding school year, to the yoga classes delivered by other non-profits, or a lesson in meditation from a volunteer to help them through exam time. All of these additional resources open their eyes beyond the mountains in which they have grown and give them a taste of a bigger world.
The result of this is that many girls pass their Baccalaureate exams and pursue University studies. Less chose to go back to the village and marry, but those that do start their married life in a completely new way from their mothers. They are educated, they are more empowered, they have choices and they can become mothers who can pass the values of education to their children and encourage them to walk in their own footsteps.
So in just 6 years of school, the future generation is transformed and equity is many steps closer- no longer a distant dream.
To read more about the impact of EFA's work in 2022, which your donations have contributed to, including testimonies from 6 of the EFA girls and young women, read our 2022 Impact Brochure! You will also enjoy this amazing video made by The Evening Standard as part of their 'Let Girls Learn' series.
To celebrate with us, follow us on Instagram Facebook or LinkedIn as we share many great interviews and other media throughout March.
You will also find more information about how to double your donations to us on GlobalGiving between March 6-12!
Warm wishes and thanks from all of us,
The EFA Team, House Mothers and Girls
The New School Year
The year has started and we are delighted to welcome 250 girls back to the houses, with new girls starting their journey with us at the age of 12. There is a feeling of optimism in the air and we hope that covid will no longer present any restrictions on the girls' education. The final year girls are already studying for their exams which will take place next week and then again in June. We look forward to seeing how they get on and sending more girls off to University.
EFA held their first reunion in September, bringing around 50 former EFA students back together. They shared about life during and after EFA, what they were doing now and how education changed their lives. Some were mothers, some teachers and others studying at University. Khadija returned to speak about becoming a secondary teacher, Fatima about being a primary school teacher and Asmaa about working for an IT company in Marrakech!
Despite the different roles and stages in life, it was clear that finishing their studies had given them confidence and options. After the shares, they agreed that they would set up an Alumni Association and elected their President, Secretary and Chair. We can't wait to follow the Association and see it grow and make an impact on opportunities for women and girls in the High Atlas.
Selection week is the toughest week of the year. When we started out in the early years, families were reluctant for their daughters to be educated; now, many want their daughters to have a place at EFA. This is great news in many ways, as it highlights the positive changes coming about, but it is also a tough time for the House Mothers as we can only take girls for the number of beds we have. This year we have added extra 'day places' as a solution to take additional girls from poor families who are within a commutable distance. This gives them access to computers, a nutritious lunch and the encouragement of a skilled House Mother.
The selection day was also supported by some of our former students who love to come back and help out. It's their way of staying connected to the EFA community and also an opportunity for them to encourage girls from their villages to do everything they can to get their education. The former girls are the best role models we can ask for.
EFA has been working with The Evening Standard on their series of documentaries titled 'Let Girls Learn'. We were honoured that they chose to focus one story on EFA and the impact it is having on girls from the High Atlas region. The filming took place over 4 days with many powerful interviews, including with some of the girls' families. The documentary will be out next month.
Once again, thank you for your amazing support so that girls from remote villages can complete their education and thrive in life.
Warm wishes from the entire EFA team, house mothers and girls!
I have just come back from my first trip to Morocco in almost 3 years! This was always the highlight of my year and I have missed it. Taking the local taxi up from Marrakech to the mountains was filled with the usual excitement, as the land turns from arid and flat, lined with olive groves to suddenly undulating hills, pine trees, dark red earth and then the majetsic High Atlas mountains come more and more into view.
When I reached Asni I went straight to the first boarding house where Latifa, our longest serving House Mother, stays. She was radiant as always and it was great to see the house full with young girls, some coming for their first time. Lunch-time was filled with the usual cheer and big plates of tagine and bread to fill the girls' bellies and brains!
Visiting the houses with older girls, the nerves of looming exams were in the air. I noticed some changes since my pre-covid visit. It wasn't the lack of customary kisses on the cheek when greeting one another- that continues on! But the older girls had an incredible command of English (their 4th language) as well as French (their 3rd). And they were very interested in midfulness thanks to Eva, our volunteer from Spain who was teahcing them meditation techniques so help with exam stress and to feel more empowered in their lives.
All of these activities, the food on the table, the care of the house mothers, the books and computers which help the girls learn English and study for exams- this is all possible thanks to your donations. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing the girls thrive, and nothing brings more gratefulness than knowing we have people like you around the world who want to see that too.
We have many more exciting things in the pipe-line, including a new documentary project. To stay in touch with us, please join our mailing list or follow us on social media.
Wishing you a great Summer
Fundraising & Communications Manager
We are excited to write this report knowing the borders have opened up again in Morocco!
Thanks to your support with this campaign, we have been able to ensure girls are sponsored though their education, food is bought, bills are paid and girls can connect to wider learning through the internet. You have donated generously to keep EFA strong in tough times, and the result is that girls are educated, empowered and thriving in this remote area of the High Atlas Mountains.
We managed to make a short documentary for International Day of the Girl last October (link at the end of this report) and also celebrated the fact that one of our former students, Kabira, completed her Master's Degree and is planning on doing her PhD in 2023! (See her photo below with her Mother.)
The open borders signify a new chapter. We hope that not only that there will be less school disruptions, but that EFA can focus again on welcoming Volunteers to the boarding houses again. We have just welcomed 3 volunteers from UK, Switzerland and Spain and there are more to come.
Volunteers are an important part of boarding house life as they bring fresh perspectives and additional support and activities into the girls lives. From art activities to meditation and yoga, the girls can expand their life skills and creativity.
Volunteers also support the House Mothers who have the monumental task of taking care of 30+ girls each day with daily homework and personal challenges. The volunteers bring much needed support to the House Mothers who also enjoy learning new ways of doing things so they too can grow their own skills.
The pandemic has been challenging for us all, but thanks to your generous support we were able to keep our houses open for most of the time and ensure teenage girls could continue accessing education.
We very much hope that 2022 is an easier year for us all, and that girls continue to access education through the EFA boarding houses, so that their communities, country and indeed our whole world can flourish and work together to find solutions for our shared future.
Thank you for being part of this important mission!
A New Dawn A New Day - Coming out of Covid!
We have many things to celebrate together with you from the last few months!
Over the Summer we did a renovation of one of our oldest houses which was in need of repairs, new beds and computers. This house will be for girls who are 12-16 years old.
In October we opened for the new school year. This year we are at full capacity and welcomed 70 new girls to the EFA Boarding houses! They embark on a journey of first times- first time in secondary school, first time using a computer, first time having a hot shower! These girls would not be in school without the EFA houses, and we are so happy to see them step into their bright new future!
To celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11, we launched a documentary which includes the life stories and messages from successful Moroccan women and the EFA girls' responses to them. You can watch it here or catch snippets of it on our IGTV channel.
Last week we witnessed an unforgettable event- the graduation of one of our first girls, Kabira, from her Master's Degree in Civil Engineering. This is a big moment for EFA, and proves that even girls from remote villages can reach for the stars with education and a nurturing enviroment.
Khadija, another of our first students, has also been in touch to share about her new job as a Biology school teacher in her old high school. She shared with us:
"It is an amazing experience and I am glad that I have this chance, because being educated was always a dream for me that came true, but teaching was just impossible even in the dream. I grew up seeing the teachers as the most wonderful, and amazing people in the world. I was raised to respect them in all situations, so it was very big for me to do this noble job.
But here I am I have already corrected about 120 pages of a diagnostic test of my students ,and I feel that they really need me. I can see all the problems that we had when we were studying. I feel exactly where I should be because these kids need to believe in themselves and I think I can help them with that. I can tell them that education is the key to anything you want in the world !!! And no matter how impossible their dream looks, that it can came true by education and hard work!"
[see Kabira and Khadija in the images below]
When Kabira and Khadija started at EFA, they didn't know other girls like them who had completed school or gone to University. It's amazing to see that the new girls now have the older girls like them as strong role models, giving them the courage to go to school and be the change that is so needed for girls in their rural communities. This is how change happens, one girl at a time.
Thank you for your amazing support so that these dreams can become a reality!
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