Because of the generous donations received through GlobalGiving’s partnership with Erickson Creative Group initial restoration of the Kasbah, which will house the regional library, is beginning! In April, I will travel to the village of Amzrai with an architectural consultant in order to complete a detailed assessment and documentation of the Kasbah’s current structural state. These drawings will be the base documents for the design, restoration and budget. In addition, we will work directly with locals who are donating their time, to complete a thorough cleaning of the 300-year-old structure. These individuals are committed to the establishment of the library and are passionately dedicated to providing education to the region’s women and children. Public involvement including parents, students and local governments is essential to sustainable education reform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Morocco ranks lowest among the countries of the MENA region in terms of access, efficiency, gender disparity and quality of education according to a recent World Bank report. An executive summary of the report is available here: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTMENA/Resources/EDU_Summary_ENG.pdf. One-half of Morocco’s population remains illiterate and with over 60% of the population under the age of 30, public access to reading materials is an essential component to quality education in remote regions. This project has already made a difference in the locals’ moral and aspirations for their children’s future.
Numerous developments have arisen during the last month as a result of Moroccan locals' commitment and excitement for this partnership with Erickson Creative Group. The village of Amzrai has donated land and their historic Kasbah to the project for restoration and location of the regional library. In addition, 24 families from the village have committed to donating labor for the construction and one family has promised to provide volunteer librarians. Also, three neighboring villages have become interested in the project and have requested libraries in their villages. Families in these villages have already committed to donating land and/or buildings for the libraries. The local effort is making this a very widespread success and will result in over 5000 children and adults having access to reading materials. Having a library in each village, rather than one for the entire region, will provide access to reading materials to women and girls; a development that was requested by the locals.
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