Say hi to 18-month-old Youssef!
Shonali Banerjee and Aliza Appelbaum are In-The-Field Representatives for GlobalGiving. They are visiting projects in Morocco, Spain and France. Here is their most recent "postcard" from Morocco:
On June 21, 2012, Aliza and I had our first site visit to SOS Village d’Enfants. Project leader Hélène Monot was kind enough to show us around the local project outside of Casablanca, identical to their project in Imzouren, a small town in northern Morocco. Morocco has five Villages housing 700 children, most of whom were abandoned by single mothers due to the religious stigma in this country of being an unwed mother. Many of the children arrive when they are still babies, but others come when they are older from orphanages around the country. They are allowed to stay until they are 23, or come home on weekends if they find a job before that. In addtion to the homes, the Village also has a kindergarten, social workers and administrators, tutors, and facilities for art, music and sports.
The Village houses 8-10 children of varying ages in each, plus a house mother and a few house "aunties". Aliza and I met with a family that included one foster mother, two aunts, three teenage boys, two young girls and one adorable baby, Youssef! The family generously invited us into their home for a visit and tea.
Then we toured through the student workshop center where the children learn computers skills, play musical instruments and paint. Aliza and I were thoroughly impressed with this project and the visible effect it was having on the community. All of the children were friendly, extroverted and enthusiastic to show us around. The bond between the foster parents and the children was tangible. As Hélène said, “These children come to the Village at a young age and develop a very real bond with their foster parents… seeing that connection reminds us everyday of why we do what we do.”
Time for delicious Moroccan mint tea!
5-year-old Aya, just back from kindergarten.
The SOS Village students workshop building.
Bada gives us a drumming demonstration!
Aliza and Project Leader Helene Monot.