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Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens

by Global Diversity Foundation
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens

Since we reported last, we finalised our second year of weekly garden trainings. This would not have been possible without the generous donations of our GlobalGiving donors and we are very grateful for the support. In collaboration with our local partner Radiant Design, we organised 46 trainings this past school year for all 143 students covering a variety of topics including cultivating organic crops, composting, making plant cuttings, mulching, making organic fertiliser and much more.

During the final training of the school year, we gathered the students in the recreational garden to discuss everything they had learned as part of their programme during this past year. We also walked around the plant nursery to recapitulate what they have learned about different plants endemic to the region and their traditional uses. Common sage (Salvia officinalis L.) for example is cultivated for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is known to have antiseptic qualities good for sore throats and bad digestion. The girls also talked about lavender, rosemary and basil – which is locally known as “Zaatar” and is used as a traditional medicine to reduce inflammation.

From our last report you might remember that 30 Dar Taliba students participated in the #MedStoryPrize, a short story competition aimed at celebrating Mediterranean culture and biodiversity. The winners were announced last month, and we are thrilled to let you know that two Dar Taliba students won 2nd place with their stories “The farmer and nature” and “The struggle of a student”. Both girls received a prize for their story during a small celebration ceremony on the final day of the school year. “We are all super happy and proud that Oumaima and Salma won 2nd place in this creative writing competition”, Dar Taliba director says.

After our little ceremony, we distributed vegetables from the final harvest of the season, including green beans, zucchini, kale and tomatoes. The girls also brought home a selection of medicinal and aromatic plants such as rosemary, mint and lavender which they will plant in their communities.

As you’ll see in the picture below, the Dar Taliba gardeners are taking good care of the gardens until the girls come back from school vacation. They have recently constructed a low fence to protect the garden and have been busy maintaining the garden and removing weeds. With their help, we also installed a second green house which will be used next school year during trainings on planting seeds and cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants.

We look forward to kicking of a new school year in September and welcoming new students to the programme! Until then, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or visit our website for more updates.

Dar Taliba garden with new greenhouse and fence
Dar Taliba garden with new greenhouse and fence
Celebration of the #MedStoryPrize winners
Celebration of the #MedStoryPrize winners
See you next school year !
See you next school year !

With lots of rain last month and a perfectly functioning drip irrigation system in place, the Dar Taliba gardens are looking green as ever and the 143 students couldn’t be happier to spend lots of time outside in the gardens.

As mentioned in our last report, we started gathering the girls for short sessions at the beginning of their trainings to talk and exchange information about traditional plants and their uses. So far, the students discussed different uses and health benefits of rosemary, lavender and geranium. Rosemary, for example, has an important economic value and can be considered as one of the most important plants in terms of essential oil applications due to its healing properties. It is used as a natural antibiotic and to treat respiratory diseases and dizziness, amongst other uses.

During our garden trainings, the students also discussed climate change, soil ecosystems and making crop choice decisions depending on the season. "I feel that the students are really engaged and show a lot of interest in the garden,” Omar, a trainer from our partner Radiant Design, says. “In the beginning the girls were a bit shy but today they asked lots of questions and shared their thoughts and ideas during our sessions.”

We have also harvested lots of fresh vegetables last month, including carrots, turnips, lettuce and beautiful radishes and the girls have been preparing “on-the-spot” fresh salads with these. Last week’s recipe included a mix of different lettuces, freshly picked lemons, radishes and coriander. A real organic treat and the girls had so much fun being creative with all these ingredients!

The students have also continued growing aromatic plants, such as rosemary, both in the greenhouse and in the plant nursery. Once the plant cuttings are strong enough and start growing roots, the students will transplant them to plant bags and take them home to their communities, located in the High Atlas mountains. We are so grateful for the continuous support of our GlobalGiving donors, making all these exciting activities happen.

Finally, we carried out a writing workshop for 30 Dar Taliba students that were interested to enter the #MedStoryPrize, a recently launched short story competition aimed at celebrating Mediterranean culture and biodiversity. During the workshop, we talked about all aspects of biodiversity through a conservation hangman exercise and quiz while exploring environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction. Students also talked about traditional land use practices found in Amazigh communities and relationships between people and nature in the High Atlas. At the end of workshop, the girls picked up their pens and started writing down ideas for their stories and main characters. We can’t wait to read the final results and share them with you!

Thanks again for your support from all of us at Dar Taliba and a blessed month of Ramadan for those who are celebrating. In case you can’t wait until our next report, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates or visit our website.

Making fresh salad from the garden
Making fresh salad from the garden
Dar Taliba students during a writing workshop
Dar Taliba students during a writing workshop
Students during a discussion on medicinal plants
Students during a discussion on medicinal plants
The gardens are looking green as ever this spring!
The gardens are looking green as ever this spring!

It’s been a busy few months in the Dar Taliba gardens. Since our last report, the Dar Taliba students have participated in fourteen garden trainings covering a wide range of topics including making compost, taking plant cuttings and preparing green manure fertiliser.

“I love our garden trainings”, Dar Taliba student Meryam says. “I get to spend time with my friends outside while learning new planting techniques.” Meryam is not the only one who’s excited about being involved in the garden. At the beginning of the new year, Dar Taliba Director and ex-student Jamila took on a more active role in delivering weekly trainings together with permaculture experts and local partner Radiant Design. “I’m really excited to take an active part in educating the students and collaborating with them during the trainings this year”, Jamila says. “It’s a great opportunity for me to share the knowledge I’ve gathered from local communities over the years, especially since I come from a similar background as most of the girls and we share a lot of local traditional plant knowledge.”

Last month, we invited local plant expert Hamid, who collaborates with us and our partner Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA) and manages a successful community plant nursery in the High Atlas. Building on his experience as a plant nursery keeper, Hamid held an interactive session on Amazigh indigenous plants such as Moroccan wild thyme and how to select and take plant cuttings (a cutting is a small piece of plant which contains at least one stem cell of the parent (stock) plant). After the girls took several plant cuttings from the aromatic and medicinal garden, including lavender, mint and rosemary, they carefully prepared several plant trays and planted the cuttings according to the techniques they learned from Hamid. Once the plant cuttings are strong enough and start growing roots, the students will transplant them to plant bags and take them home to plant in their communities in the High Atlas mountains.

Another fun activity was the training on making compost during which the students learned more about how to take good care of the soil and improve its conditions. “Composting is a way of giving back healthy and nutrient rich soil to the Earth”, Cécile from Radiant Design explained. “Whenever we harvest vegetables or clear weeds, we remove nutrients from the soil. Composting is an essential practice to keep our soil healthy and fertile, so it can provide us with nutritious food”. The girls worked very hard to create a big compost pile and we look forward to seeing the result of their efforts in a few weeks when the compost will be ready for use!

We are really grateful for the generous support of our GlobalGiving donors in creating this green space and making these exciting learning opportunities happen. Thank you!

Although it’s winter still, we are all very excited about spring and watching the garden bloom. Only a few days ago, the Dar Taliba team spotted several ladybirds, and we all know these beautiful creatures are a gardener’s best friend. They feed on pests and keep our plants healthy, which is great news for all the vegetables the Dar Taliba students have been planting.

Over the next few weeks, the Dar Taliba team is planning to organise short sessions before trainings to talk about local plants and their traditional uses. First up will be rosemary. We look forward to sharing more about these upcoming garden activities in our next report. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or visit our website for more updates.

Taking plant cuttings from lavender
Taking plant cuttings from lavender
Working hard to create a big pile of compost
Working hard to create a big pile of compost
We spotted some ladybirds!
We spotted some ladybirds!

Since we reported last, the Dar Taliba students are back at their all-girls boarding house after a long summer vacation from school. We are very excited to share that we have started the new school year with an exciting series of permaculture trainings in collaboration with our partners Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association and Radiant Design.

Together with Dar Taliba Director Jamila and our colleagues Cécile and Laila from the Radiant Design team—an all-girls team this year—we’ve carried out eight training sessions in the garden since the beginning of the school year, which began late September.

At the start of every school year, new students enrol at Dar Taliba and this year was no exception with 52 new girls in residence. Although I was excited to reconnect with last year’s group, I was pleased to see so many new faces such as Iman and Amina. “We’re cousins but we had never met until a few weeks ago when we both started school here”, Iman, aged 12 said. “It’s our first time working in the garden and we really like it”.

We kicked off this year’s programme with trainings on seeds; we taught the students how to collect, clean and plant them while also educating them about the importance of the soil quality when collecting seeds. “The seeds from our garden are better than the ones we would buy in the market”, said Dar Taliba student Salma, when Cécile asked why we are collecting seeds directly from the vegetables we planted last year. “We know the vegetables and the soil in the garden have not been treated with chemicals”, she explained.

During these trainings, we split the group into two teams. One team, led by Cécile, started their training with the collection and cleaning of vegetables seeds. Over the past few months, the gardeners have been drying the last of the summer vegetables, including eggplants and cucumbers, which the girls had planted before summer vacation. Now, the students were able to slice the vegetables open and gather, clean and dry all the seeds inside. “I had no idea there were so many seeds inside!”, Asma said while collecting seeds from an eggplant.

The second team started their work in the garden where Laila taught the girls about the different steps and techniques available to plant vegetables seeds. With little bags full of turnip, green bean and spinach seeds, the girls paired up and assigned each other different tasks such as planting the seeds, measuring the distance between the planted seeds and covering the holes with earth after. Once they were finished planting, it was their turn to collect and clean seeds, so they switched places with the other team. Rotating the teams during their garden work allows every student to get the most out of each training.

In between these garden trainings, my colleague Hajar and I organised a drawing activity at Dar Taliba with 30 girls last month. After a short introduction about our different projects within the High Atlas Cultural Landscape programme—of which targeted outreach to youth and students on traditional plant knowledge is an important part—we did a brainstorming exercise on local food, herbs, plants and trees to find out which products are found in their households and which crops are grown in their communities. Hajar and myself—both not talented in drawing—were happy to see the result of their drawings and to find several creative little artists in the group! “I made a drawing of wheat because where I come from there are many wheat fields and people working the land”, Meryam, aged 14, said. “I have cut wheat myself several times out in the field”. The drawings produced during these sessions will be used to create a “local household basket booklet”, which will feature 50 local and useful plants and plant products.

Over the next few months, we are planning to invite local plant experts to join our trainings in the plant nursery to support and encourage the Dar Taliba students to learn more about Amazigh indigenous plants from their communities, located in the High Atlas mountains.

Thanks to the generous support of our GlobalGiving donors, we are able to continue our garden trainings throughout the school year during which they will learn valuable skills such as seed saving and expand their knowledge on valuable local plants.

Until our next report, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about the activities and progress made in the Dar Taliba garden. Thanks again to all our supporters for making these valuable trainings happen!

Dar Taliba students having fun while drawing
Dar Taliba students having fun while drawing
New Dar Taliba students during their 1st training
New Dar Taliba students during their 1st training
Collecting and cleaning seeds from green beans
Collecting and cleaning seeds from green beans
Dar Taliba student Meryam drawing wheat
Dar Taliba student Meryam drawing wheat

We are in the midst of a hot summer here in Morocco—life usually slows down around August due to the weather and family holidays. Although the Dar Taliba students have returned home to their families for a two-month school vacation, our team has been busy taking care of the gardens and developing an exciting programme for the girls once they return in September.

At the end of June, we completed our first school year of weekly permaculture trainings with a series of practical workshops on composting and water management in collaboration with our partner, Radiant Design. In addition to these workshops, the girls learned how to make an all-natural, organic and non-toxic insecticide with black soap, which has anti-bacterial and natural insecticide qualities. “I think it’s very important the girls learn natural ways to fight bacteria and insects that can threaten all the fresh crops they have been growing over the past months”, Dar Taliba gardener Lhoucine says.

On the last day of the school year, we gathered the Dar Taliba students in the garden and harvested a beautiful mix of potatoes, lettuce, green beans, onions and lots of fresh medicinal and aromatic plants such as thyme. Everyone took home a basket filled with fresh organic produce, grown by the students during their trainings. We hope their families will be as impressed as we are with the delicious results of their hard work!

Until the girls return from their summer vacation in a few weeks, our team will have their hands full managing the new irrigation system and the construction of a brand-new seed bank which will play an important role during their trainings next year. We’ve also recently welcomed two families of bees to the Dar Taliba gardens, who have now found their home in two hives located between the vegetable and aromatic plant gardens. We can’t wait for the girls to meet our new friends and learn about the importance of bees for the environment, (not to mention taste their delicious honey and explore its medicinal uses)!

Thanks to the generous support of all our GlobalGiving donors, we are able to start developing an exciting programme of weekly permaculture trainings for the Dar Taliba students. These will enable the girls to grow many more delicious vegetables to bring home to their families, and learn new skills, such as seed saving. We can’t wait to see all the girls and start working with them again very soon.

Until then, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or visit our website for more updates!

Final harvest of the year
Final harvest of the year
Making compost is fun!
Making compost is fun!
Bees are feeling right at home in Dar Taliba
Bees are feeling right at home in Dar Taliba
 

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Global Diversity Foundation

Location: Bristol, VT - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Pommelien Da Silva Cosme
Canterbury, Kent United Kingdom
$25,707 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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