Morocco

High School Students From the USA Build a Library and IT Room in a Moroccan Village

Background

Hands Up Schools was approached by Steamboat Mountain School to arrange a volunteer trip for 12 of its senior students.

Requirements

It was essential that the trip was safe, and enabled the students to get immersed in a different culture, gain insights into other ways of life, include experiential learning, and make a lasting difference.

Planning

Hands Up worked closely with the two leaders from the school to develop a program that would achieve their goals and be on budget.

Trip Elements

1. Voluntary Service

The group of 12 students aged from 16-17 spent five days building a library and computer lab in a rural Berber school.

2. Cultural Immersion and Experiential Learning

This Berber village is completely off the tourist path, so the locals has previously had little if any contact with foreigners, and the students stayed with host families, so the immersion was intense.

The students also had a cultural induction, consisting of:

  • Language lessons
  • Cooking lessons
  • An Art workshop
  • Guided walks in the village

The students were guided around the main cultural sights in Marrakech and Casablanca, and also met with disabled students in Ouarzazate.

3. Other activities

The students trekked for three days in the beautiful Dades valley, encountering villagers and farmers en route, and crossed the Atlas Mountains.

They spent a night in the Sahara Desert, where they rode camels and slept in Bedouin tents.

Impact

With the help of the community and local expert builders, the students completed a large portion of the library and computer lab.

Other groups have since completed it entirely, and it is now fully utilized by both male and female students, greatly enhancing their education and boosting their employment prospects.

The students were in agreement that this was an amazing trip, “the diversity of landscapes and experiences was cool” with the highlight being their time volunteering in the Berber village.

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