In the last three decades the number of children on Morocco’s streets has grown steadily and Taroudannt has several hundred children who spend the majority of their time on the street. Some of these young people work on the street, collecting rubbish, begging or engaging in prostitution. Some of these children do not attend school or are at-risk of dropping out of education. These children are sometimes stigmatised and isolated within their own communities, leaving them vulnerable to a wide range of health, legal and psychological issues.
Since October 2010, MCT has employed a local social work team to meet the needs of some of these vulnerable street-connected children in Taroudannt. This team delivers targeted individual support to support families living and working on the streets to improve their situation and access to opportunity, including: crucial legal advocacy, first aid and health support, access to public services, informal counselling sessions, home visits.
In October 2011, we opened a pre-school in order to prepare the 3-5 year-old beneficiaries for primary school. As well as helping children, the pre-school provides many female-headed households with the daycare they need to maintain stable legal employment. The pre-school gives children the space and the opportunity to learn or play with other children, some of whom would be otherwise neglected and placed at serious risk during the daytime whilst their parent(s) works.
School Support Programme
For the older children aged 6 to 18+ years, we offer a regular programme of school support sessions and non-formal educational activities in a classroom environment. The full-time teacher and social workers use the programme to encourage those children whose attendance at school is very irregular, or those who are at risk of dropping out of school. Our aim is to support the children and young people who voluntarily come to sessions to engage with education, by providing critical attention to their schoolwork and helping them to see the relevance of education to their lives, something that is often difficult for children who are independently seeking to support their families and themselves financially.
Along with our classroom-based services at Centre Amane, we run regular recreational activities in our adjacent sports hall. Sports and group activities can teach responsibility, discipline and teamwork, help children combat boredom, and provide a safe alternative where both boys and girls are welcome.
Due to our committed local and international volunteers, we are able to offer children and young people activities during their school holidays as well – a crucial period as they often have more free time but no alternative to spending time on the street.
Mentoring & Other Activities
At Centre Amane, we train local volunteers to become mentors for a one-year mentoring relationship with a young person identified by the social work team. Our programme aims to provide young people with a stable, positive relationship in their lives as well as someone to offer trusted individual support and guidance. It has proven to boost self-confidence and self-esteem and be a helpful tool for child protection advocacy and liaising with local schools, including the university, from which many of our mentoring volunteers come.
Our team at Centre Amane also constantly seeks to use its access to resources to offer children and young people new opportunities, such as participation in Morocco’s Youth Parliament, a cultural music festival in Poland, and the SATUC Football World Cup in Egypt.