El proyecto The project “Filling Schools” is aimed at contributing to the personal, educational and professional development of the children of the Casa Escuela Santiago Uno and to the strengthening of the Berber population in terms of education and basic services. It aims to be a space of coexistence and cultural exchange, where respect is the backbone.

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.

The project’s main aims are:

  • To transform children labeled negatively in their natural context into active participants in a development project.

  • To learn another concept of family where there are sacred aspects such as respect for the parents in particular and for elders in general.

  • To establish contacts with the local Educational Institution, with people in institutional positions in the area and local officials, with local women’s associations and with associations related to International Cooperation for Development.

  • To create a local development cooperative focused on the recovery of eco-social jobs.

  • To survive two months away from the dependent consumerist world.

  • To reduce the consumption of toxic substances in national minors.

  • To put to practice the learning acquired during the school year, related to vocational training in cooking, gardening, mechanics and welding, while at the same time training local staff to give temporary continuity to the progress, in short, to give sustainability to the project.

  • To provide the female population with professional skills by setting up different workshops.

  • To initiate an intercultural school without moral judgments.

  • To design leisure and free time activities for the children of the Berber villages as well as for those of our Casa Escuela.

  • To develop public infrastructure improvements, mainly in the local school: classroom-workshop, sanitary dispensary, audiovisual room, toilets; transforming it into a School of Success.

  • To provide the School of Success with facilities and sports equipment, as well as a playground.

  • To install and start up mechanical water extraction machinery in homes with serious shortcomings on this matter.