As we welcome Spring in the High Atlas Mountains, our artisans have been busy keeping traditional Moroccan crafts alive on our training programmes. Passing their expertise down from one generation to the next, loom-woven threads are turned into beautiful rugs and textiles which are sold to generate an income for local Berber people.
The crèche in Asni has been transformed into a temporary dental clinic, so that every child in the valley can receive pain-free dental care treatment and learn good toothbrushing skills. We are fortunate to work with a terrific team of volunteer dentists and nurses who each year give up their time and skills to improve oral hygiene in the region.
We have now completed the construction of a secure perimeter wall around our new study centre. Whilst construction of the wall has slowed us down, our priority is to make sure the centre is safe and secure. We have connected the building to the mains electricity and water supply and we can now focus on sourcing equipment.
Our work wouldn't be possible without the support of individuals like you. Today, we are better placed to serve all corners of the community. Thank you!
If you would like to visit our programmes in Morocco for a truly authentic Berber experience, then please get in touch.
The Eve Branson Foundation
Thanks to you, we ended 2022 on a high note!
A group of Virgin Atlantic climbers joined our ‘Climb Morocco’ challenge and successfully summited Mount Toubkal, raising over $30,000 for the study centre project.
Preparations for the challenge event had started back in 2020 but plans had to be put on hold when Moroccan borders closed to international travel during Covid.
To see the event become a reality after such a long wait made it even more joyful. We would also like to make special mention of Kasbah Tamadot, Virgin Unite and the fantastic team at GlobalGiving who helped to match all donations during the campaign.
This all means that we can move forward with getting the study centre prepared for opening in late Spring. Leading the project will be our new Eve Branson Foundation President, Fatima Gounsa.
Fatima brings a wealth of local knowledge and experience. She is pictured here on the steps of our new study centre alongside the Virgin Atlantic team after completing their climb!
Fatima collected the keys to the building last week and recruitment is now underway to appoint two local managers who will supervise the centre. We are sourcing quotes to purchase desks, equipment and install CCTV as an additional security precaution.
The Eve Branson Foundation makes a meaningful impact on the community we serve by making sure no-one gets left behind. Exams can be a difficult time for even the most prepared students. Many will drop out of education here because they lack a quiet place to study and then struggle to achieve their grades.
With this challenge at the forefront of our minds, we developed the study centre project to provide 500 students in Asni with a safe learning space. The centre will support exam revision, improve access to learning materials and provide a quiet environment inbetween lessons.
Once open, we can deliver improved education outcomes for both girls and boys enrolled in secondary education. The centre is the first of its kind and is invaluable to Asni.
A huge thank you - we couldn’t have achieved any of this without your support.
On 24th July, 500 local students and primary school children from across Asni valley came together to participate in our biggest ever community litter-pick.
The day was a resounding success! We provided the bags, caps, T-shirts and refreshments while the team leaders helped to make the activity safe and fun. The participants enjoyed the experience, collecting over 2,000 kilos of rubbish until every roadside and outside space sparkled again.
Young people are a key part of our work in the local community. Whether it's a village litter-pick or enrolling them to learn a new skill, we encourage everyone to actively participate. Due to learning loss during the pandemic, many secondary school students have fallen behind and failed to achieve the grades they needed. Provision of a quiet and safe space for revision can be vital to a successful exam period. Sadly, there will be some who are unable to continue their schooling this term.
School closures and stretched resources have disproportionately affected the most vulnerable students. Learning poverty now threatens the education of hundreds of young people in the region.
To compensate for learning loss, EBF's new study centre project will see up to 400 students using the facility each week. Thanks to our collective fundraising effort and the generosity of donors like you, we have now secured $40,000 towards the project.
In August, a sub-group of EBF Board members and local education representatives was formed to create 'Tousna for Education Asni' whose role is to work with the local authorities to ensure the effective running of the centre.
We await a firm commitment from the local education body to offer a regular contribution towards staffing costs for the centre. We are eager to get the doors open but we recognise the future success of the centre depends on providing students with a safe and well managed space.
In readiness, we have made an application to install electricity and Wi-Fi connectivity in the building. We will send an update once we have met again with the new council representatives in the coming weeks.
Thank you for helping to shape this very important project with us. You are helping to transform the lives of young people in Morocco!
Thank you for helping to put education first in the Atlas Mountains.
EBF is fundraising to develop an indoor study centre in Asni so that more young people will have access to a quiet, safe place to study and revise for exams.
We are thrilled to let you know that following a meeting with the local Town Hall, a new building has been donated to the project. The building is located next to the main school.
The interior has space to create separate learning zones which can accommodate up to 80 students, boys and girls, at any one time. It will also house a raised stage, technology area and a small reference library with a photocopier.
The centre will open its doors to students from September 2022 and we anticipate more than 400 pupils coming through its doors each week.
Our fundraising effort continues so that we can furnish and equip the centre, ready for the start of term in September. There is a shortage of reference books in the Lycée and we aim to have at least one photocopier in the centre so that learning resources can be shared. We also want to raise enough funds to recruit local staff who will operate the centre.
We will keep you updated now the project is fully underway! Every donation counts.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Summertime.
Asni is a market town in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains with an already oversubscribed secondary school serving the entire region. We know there is a widening gap in education since the pandemic began and students here lack any kind of quiet study space outside of lessons. This issue became even more apparent when schools closed during lockdowns. We are now seeing students subsequently falling behind in their education and some have dropped out of schooling completely.
In October 2021, the region faced more unexpected challenges when Moroccan borders were closed once again due to developments concerning COVID-19. Unfortunately, this meant us having to postpone ‘Climb Morocco’, an exciting challenge event where participants join a once in a lifetime experience to raise funds for EBF projects through GlobalGiving. We have plans to get going again with this special adventure once restrictions are lifted.
Following the Moroccan local elections at the end of last year, a meeting with the new governing body in Asni was scheduled for Spring 2022 to discuss the donation of a piece of land to be used for the study centre project. A section of land close to the school has already been ear-marked. However, we are optimistic that we can secure a larger piece of land that will support the construction of a larger building to house more than 80 students at any one time.
We have connected with the Morocco Library Project to gather learnings in how to furnish the centre with appropriate student materials, books and other resources. Following interviews with the nearby state boarding house, we understand that equipment such as a photocopier is essential so that more students can access learning materials, particularly when resources are scarce and shared among so many.
Our team will engage with local architects and submit building plans for approval in the coming months. We remain committed to building a resilient, healthy and educated community for the future.
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