Our project was the winner of the 2nd Edition of the Telefónica Foundation’s Volunteering Awards, which aims to identify and promote the best volunteer initiatives in Spain.
The “Filling Schools” Project takes place in rural Berber villages located in the Souss-Massa-Draa region, Morocco’s second poorest region. According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index, rural areas of the country reach poverty levels comparable to those of some sub-Saharan African countries.
The climate is very dry and with little rain which makes it especially hot in the summer months. The villages in which the Berber population settles are hard-to-reach areas, with an absence of public roads and means of transport. In addition, almost all of the population lacks its own vehicle or their mode of transport is insufficient (donkey, bicycle, motorcycle) so they practically live cut-off, away from public services, including health centers.
The population is mainly engaged in agriculture and livestock farming for their own consumption. Among the crops we can highlight the Argan tree, whose seed is used in the laborious task of oil and cosmetics production. Families have no fixed income and men often leave home temporarily to work in a ‘nomadic’ way. They perform small manual and construction jobs in which the remuneration received is usually payment in kind or by barter. Women are mainly dedicated to household chores and in some cases to the production of Argan oil.
School dropout is a frequent occurrence, especially in the case of girls, who leave school at an early age to devote themselves to housework. This situation derives, among other things, from the lack of infrastructure to reach secondary schools, and the lack of economic resources that forces minors to look for employment at a very young age, as well as a considerable illiteracy rate among adults.