Children
 Morocco
Project #8393

KEEP 100 MOROCCAN CHILDREN AWAY FROM ABANDONMENT

by SOS Children's Villages Morocco (SOS Villages d'Enfants Maroc)
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Fatema preparing delicious pastries  from home
Fatema preparing delicious pastries from home

Dear global giving supporter,

I hope you and your family are doing well. Here in Imzouren, it is getting colder and colder! Children have to put on their hats and coats to go to school.

During the past 3 months, a lot has happened in our Family Strenghtening Program. The most important is that 6 families have become fully autonomous. This means that 6 mothers have regained confidence and are now independent, responsible head of their family. This also means that 10 children are saved, thanks to your support. They are staying with their mother, felling secure, attending school and considering their future serenely.

Each family we support has its own background story and path towards autonomy. Today I have decided to share with you the story of Fatema, which is on track to become fully autonomous soon, inchallah as we say here !

Fatema is widowed and mother of 3 children. When she entered the program at the end of 2011, she was feeling pretty lost. Her little one Khaoula was only 3 years old and needing a lot of attention, Dawya was 6, and Mehdi, the older one, was only 9 years old, too young to care for his sisters.

As soon as she entered the program, Fatema had the perfect mindset. She asked for support regarding schooling of her children and the opportunity to learn a skill that would enable her to earn money. Since she had a very low level of primary studies and loved to bake, she choose to follow a vocational training in bakery. In parallel, the program helped her with hygiene and food packages, and covering health and schooling expenses.

Fatema participated very seriously in the training, and she successfully passed the final exam. With her certificate, she also regained self-esteem and confidence. Fatema loves to learn: she is the most constant attendee to all the awareness sessions we organize regarding child protection, importance of schooling, children’s rights etc. When possible, she even comes along with her children to after-school classes. She very discreetly listens, willing to be able to understand better what they are learning at school.

After getting her bakery certificate, Fatema got the opportunity to join a cooperative of women. But she declined it, fearing that she would not be at home to take care of her very young children, who still needed a lot of care. So she had a very serious talk with Moulouda, our Program Officer.

“- Fatema, you have to set up your own Income Generating Activity from home if you want to be able to earn money and take care of your 3 children. The association won’t be there forever to help you

“- But I can’t go out of my house and look for clients Moulouda ! I am a widow… people will gossip if they see me on the street, in grocery shops, talking to men I don’t know”

Hearing this talk, young Mehdi went out for a while and when he came back home, he very proudly announced to his mother

“- I have discussed with 3 grocers, they will buy your bread every day mummy, you cann start tomorrow !”

How mature is this little boy who helps his mother in her first step towards independence!

Fatema followed an additional training on how to set up and manage an income generating activity and she started working from home, selling bread to these 3 grocers.  

Now she is cooking all kinds of traditional – delicious – Moroccan pastries. Thanks to her son, she also found the strength to go out of her house to find new costumers. She has regular clients in Imzouren and in the nearby city of Al Hoceima. During the wedding season, or for religious celebrations, her order book is full! The word has spread that she is a very fine baker!

She is also a good manager who is very attentive to her recipes and margin. Her children are also doing well, very serious at school and the girls are particularly successful. Dawya is now 11, she wants to become a teacher.  Khaoula is 8 and dreams of being a pediatrician: we wish them all the best!

As we are approaching the holiday season, I would like to take this opportunity to renew my gratitude for your support! Thanks to you, we are saving lives and keeping families together!

On behalf of the children, THANK YOU! (choukrane)
On behalf of the children, THANK YOU! (choukrane)
Siham, a strong-willed young woman
Siham, a strong-willed young woman

Dear global giving supporter,

September is a busy month: all Moroccan families are preparing to celebrate Aid El Kebir, one of the most important celebration of the muslim year, and all children and youths in the program are preparing to go back to school.

As you know, access to education is one of the cornerstones of our program. We believe the only way for vulnerable mother-headed families to break the circle of poverty is to keep children at school, encourage youths to study longer and get diplomas, and help them find a job. Reaching this independence represents a challenge, in particular for girls in the Rif region.

Siham is the perfect example of this long road towards autonomy (her name has been changed). Let  me tell you her story.

Siham is a 20-years-old young woman, the only girl of 4 siblings. When her father died, she could not imagine the consequences it would have on her life.

Her mother was a very conservative housewife: she was illiterate and she rarely went out of her house. After the father’s death, it was decided that all decisions were to be made by the enlarged family (Siham’s paternal grandmother and uncles), leaving the widow helpless. The enlarged family could not afford to support Siham’s family financially, but they would also refuse that Siham’s mother go outside the house to look for a job. Somedays, food was missing on the table. 

Fortunately, Siham and her family entered the Family Strenghtening Program. They received material support with food, hygiene, and healthcare. The 4 siblings benefitted from school supplies, tutoring lessons, and advices regarding academic choices. The program also provided for Siham’s big brother vocational training fees. One of the first challenge was to convince the enlarged family to let Siham’s mother attend litteracy classes, training and coaching sessions, but the biggest challenge is about Siham. 

Indeed, after Siham successfully passed her Baccalaureate exam, her enlarged family wanted her to stop studying and find a husband. Even though Siham does want to marry one day and start a family, her main concern is to avoid finding herself in the same vulnerable position as her mother, without qualification, without professional experience and depending too much on a husband.

Thanks to the coaching sessions they have followed and to the self-confidence they have regained, Siham and her mother found the strength to confront their family, to discuss thoroughly with the paternal grandmother and uncles and to, eventually, do as they had decided. Siham’s brother also helped a lot: he is now working as an electrician and partly supporting the family with his earnings.

I am happy to announce you that Siham is now preparing to enter her second year in accounting studies, she is working hard to succeed, and I hope you can read in her eyes her determination to become an independent woman. We wish her good luck for the coming year, to get her diploma, find a job and fulfil her dreams!

I hope this story will help you understand the impact you have on the lives of families participating in the program. Your support enables us to overcome many obstacles and bring entire families towards autonomies. On behalf of Siham, her brothers and all the other youths we are supporting in Imzouren, I thank you for your precious help !

 I also take this opportunity to wish you a nice celebration of the Aid : Aid Mubarak Said ! 

before going to the funfair
before going to the funfair

Dear Global Giving supporter,

As the holy month of Ramadan is starting in Morocco, I am glad to give you an update about the project in Imzouren.

Thanks to your support, we are currently helping 73 children and youths and their 30 different families in the region of Imzouren.

As you know, our FSP officer Moulouda, regularly works with the mothers to follow schooling of children. She visits schools and maintain the contact with teacher, especially since most of the children encounter difficulties at school. During the past 3 months, we have reinforced after school tutoring classes for the pupils who are facing exams in the end of the year. 42 pupils benefit from tutoring classes, all levels included from primary school to high school. We wish them good luck for the end of the year and a lot of success !

We have also worked with the youths during the last semester, with the organization of two vocational guidance workshops with pupil from last year of secondary school to termination of high school (passing Baccalaureate certificate). The objectives were to give information about pathways to choose among studies at university or vocational trainings, to raise awareness about the necessity to focus on a relevant personal project to succeed in professional and social insertion and to give confidence to the youths and help them build their own future.

On top of thes workshops, 11 youths took part in the visit of Al Hoceima Marine Insitute and 3 other youths travelled all the way to Casablanca to participate in the National Youth Forum in partnership with two other NGOs. It was an amazing opportunity for them to know more about vocational trainings, studies at university and administrative procedures to get public grants. They could also meet with companies and talk with employees to know more about their pathways and experience. On top of this, it was a great adventure for them, since it was their first travel out of their region, to the big city of Casablanca.

In parallel, we keep working with the mothers to give them the means to raise their children in dignity. We plan that 5 families will be autonomous in July 2016, and we are currently working with 12 other mothers for them to set up cooking or sewing income generating activities. We will keep you informed about these projects in the coming months.

Our FSP officer finally aims at raising awareness about children’s rights in the whole community of this conservative region. She has called local schools’ directions to contribute into a mid-term action plan to raise awareness concerning auto protection of the child against sexual abuse and other forms of violenceThe plan includes workshop with pupils and parents about Children's Rights through a support document: Guide “Thank you to respect my rights”. Moulouda has already organized workshops with one school for 40 children from the community and their parents.

To end with a joyful story, there has been a very special day in April: we managed to get free tickets for the local funfair in Imzouren. You should have hear the kids and their mothers laugh, the first time they got on a merry-go-round ! This was unique and precious. The children have a difficult past and background so it is even more important for them to live those happy childhood moments every child deserves!

I leave you with the smiles of the children and, on behalf of the families you help stick together, I wish you a serene and peaceful month of Ramadan!

After-school tutoring classes
After-school tutoring classes
Visit of Al Hoceima Marine Institute
Visit of Al Hoceima Marine Institute
National youth forum in Casablanca
National youth forum in Casablanca
laughters at the funfair
laughters at the funfair
Sobiha selling her ironwork designs
Sobiha selling her ironwork designs

Dear Global Giving supporter,

As you might know, earth has been trembling in Imzouren region for the past weeks. Luckily, there has been no major damages in the region so far, and the families you are helping are safe and sound.

Today, as we have just celebrated women’s rights international day, I would like to share with you a success story of our program, which shows that there are amazing and strong women in this region of Morocco who can achieve miracles if they are given a little help. (We have changed all the names, out of respect for our beneficiaries’privacy)

Khalida’s story starts like many of the women you are currently helping. She saw her whole world crumble the day her husband left her, with three young children and only limited sewing skills to support her family. Before her separation, Khalida had never left her house without her husband’s permission and, in this very traditional region, she thought that being a divorced woman was a disaster.

Khalida’s sister, Sobiha, is the one who came to knock on our door. She met Moulouda, our FSP officer, and explained her sister’s sad situation. After examining the whole family’s situation, and given how depressed Khalida was, Moulouda decided to include the family in the program, considering Sobiha, who did not have children and was single, as the referent.

We gave the basic needs support for the whole family to Sobiha (food, hygiene and health packages) who became a second mother for the children. We made sure that kids were attending school by providing school supplies and helping them with psychological support and tutoring classes. We worked with Khalida to help her out of her depression with psychological support and coaching.

She started to get out of the house, first simply to pick her kids from school. Sobiha also played a crucial part in Khalida’s recovery. She encouraged her sister to go out of the house more and more and to attend the sewing professional training we proposed her in order to improve her skills and regain self-confidence.

After a long process, for the sake of her children, Khalida finally managed to face the outside world. She now makes a living by selling the clothes she designs, and thanks to another income generating activity she has set up with Sobiha. They have hens, cows and sheeps and Khalida is the one who brings the milk and eggs to the local shop. Khalida would never have imagined she was able to be the head of two companies and additionally to do a job – farming - which is typically practiced by men and which Khalida really enjoys.

Sobiha also has developed her skills thanks to the program: she attended very seriously the awareness sessions we proposed regarding school follow-up, children’s psychology, and children’s rights. This “second mother” of three children became an advocate of children’s rights.

She also decided to have another activity to help her family, on top of the farming activity. We helped her to attend a specific training and she is now part of an innovative ironwork women’s cooperative. Again, a stereotyped “men’s job” for this amazing woman who declares: “women are not weak, women can do whatever they want – where there is a will there is a way!”.

The three children are now safe and happy to live with their mother and aunt and are thankful to Khalida and Sobiha for all the efforts they have made to keep the family together and offer them proper schooling.

On behalf of Khadija, Fatima, Reda, Khalida and Sobiha, it is my turn to thank you for your support to this program, for helping these brave women who fight every day to raise their children in dignity and stand tall despite a merciless fate.

Dear friend,

As the year is ending, Moulouda, our Family Strenghtening Program Officer in Imzouren is still working hard to make sure that vulnerable single mothers can keep their children with them, recover dignity and offer their kids the schooling they need to break the circle of poverty.

I would like to tell you a success story that YOU made possible, by supporting Imzouren Family Strenghtening Program. I hope that reading Fatna’s family story will bring you as much joy and hope as I felt when I heard it. (We have changed all the names, out of respect for our beneficiaries’privacy)

Fatna was illiterate and had four children - 3 girls and one young boy - when her husband abandoned the family, leaving Fatna alone and vulnerable in a conservative region where lonely mothers are stigmatized.

Desperate and afraid, Fatna followed the advice of a friend and knocked on Imzouren Family Strenghtening Program doors at the end of 2011.

She was then completely lost and did not know how to cope with this situation. Fatna had to leave her native douar (rural town) where the community isolated her. She was working as a cleaner in different homes to earn little money that barely paid for the rent of her poor home. Traumatized by her parents painful separation, but also by the extreme poverty in which she had to live, Hajiba, Fatna’s oldest daughter had dropped school in her last year of secondary school, right before entering highschool and was expressing a strong inferiority feeling. Khalid, Fatna’s youngest boy, was also suffering from the sudden departure of his father. He was struggling to follow his primary school 4th grade curriculum and was on the verge of dropping out of school. Fatna was then feeling so depressed and helpless that she was thinking about abandoning her children.

When she entered our Family Strenghtening Program, what Fatna needed the most was psychological support and hope for her children’s future. Fatna committed to participate seriously in all our awareness sessions and capacity building trainings as well as leaving her kids at school. In exchange, we helped her with food and hygiene packages, health services, psychological support for her and her children, trainings and awareness sessions and covering all schooling expenses.

Progressively, we witnessed Fatna’s transformation: she gained more and more self-confidence and showed an incredible motivation to learn. She learnt how to read and write thanks to the literacy classes we offered. She learnt how to be a better mother and defend her own rights and her children’s rights thanks to the awareness sessions we provided. You should have seen Fatna’s smile when our FSP officer explained the Moudawana to her and she discovered that her children and herself had many rights, even thought she was divorced from her husband. Finally she learnt how to become the head of the family and shape her own future thanks to our Family Development Plan. Fatna decided to follow a cooking training: this also participated in recovering self-confidence and helped her prepare healthy and cheap meals for her family.

In the past 4 years, the children have also metamorphosed, and you should hear how proud Fatna is when she presents her four jewels.  We provided Khalid with tutoring classes and a reinforced individual monitoring: he is now in secondary school and is no longer thinking about dropping out of it. His sister Ghita is in highschool, she will pass her baccalaureate certificate next year after benefitting from our advisory sessions and orientation workshops. Btissame is a brilliant law student in Oujda Mohammed 1st University and wants to defend the rights of women and children. She is well armed for her future professional life, after following our trainings regarding time and conflict management as well as job research techniques. Hajiba who was the most affected by her parents’ conflict, followed individual coaching sessions. She progressively recovered pride and the will to go back to school. Following her tastes and the orientation advice of our FSP Officer, she decided to follow a 2-years catering vocational training in a well-known Institute. She successfully graduated and, thanks to the FSP support (job research technique, networking etc), she was hired in a restaurant in Al Hoceima, a touristic city 20 minutes from Imzouren. She is now helping her mother to provide for the family needs.

Fatna, matriarch of a revitalized family, is now walking head-high. She found a regular job in a micro-finance company (with a contract, guarantees, and health insurance). She wants her 3 younger children to pursue their studies as long as possible, to be able to follow their dreams and above all, she wants her 3 daughter not to depend too much on a future husband. No doubt that with this powerful example, Ghita, Btissame and Hajiba will follow their mother’s advice.

In 2015, Fatna and her family were declared autonomous. They are no longer part of our Programme but Fatna is grateful for all the support she got and she is now guiding vulnerable single mothers who are at risk of abandoning their children towards our FSP. Fatna asked me to thank all our supporters.

So on behalf of Fatna, Hajiba, Btissame, Ghita, Khalid and all our Imzouren FSP beneficiaries for the past 4 years, THANK YOU!

 

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Organization Information

SOS Children's Villages Morocco (SOS Villages d'Enfants Maroc)

Location: Casablanca, Grand Casablanca - Morocco
Website: http:/​/​www.vesosmaroc.org/​
Project Leader:
Severine Tragus
Casablanca, Grand Casablanca Morocco

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