The Moroccan Children’s Trust (MCT) was registered as a UK charity in 2008. This marked the official continuation of the legacy of UK-registered charity AfricaTrust Networks in facilitating international volunteering work on local projects in partnership with local Taroudannt-based charity Groupe Maroc Horizons (GMH). Since 2003, MCT founder Dr. Christopher Hands served as a volunteer in Taroudannt and cultivated this partnership to provide effective volunteering experiences for both the local community and the international volunteers. Struck by the amount of time he found children and young people spending time in the street as well as the harsh conditions in which he found some of them living, Dr. Hands worked with a local social work team to understand the wider social, cultural and economic difficulties children and their families faced in Taroudannt.
Upon completion of six months of participatory research with 43 street-connected children in Taroudannt and three months of analysis and planning, MCT launched its Street Children Project in October 2010 – a social and educational community development project with some of Taroudannt’s most vulnerable children and their families. The project began with the opening of a social drop-in centre called Centre Afaq in the heart of town, run by a three-person social work team. Offering a base for the team and a safe, accessible place for children and their families, the centre hosted 52 families and 109 children in its first year. MCT and its partner, with professional expert support, gradually developed the holistic approach of the project to become a model of excellency in child protection: educational support for children of all ages, health monitoring, recreational programmes, legal advocacy, emotional support, and parenting support for mothers.
The rapid growth of the project strands at the centre came with rapid team expansion, reaching a size of 12 local staff by October 2013. In order to support the continued running of the international volunteer programme as well as local volunteering, services at the centre and high-level advocacy goals of building an effective child protection system not only in Taroudannt but across the country, MCT needed a local partner who could adequately support this continued growth and development. In May 2014, MCT transferred its local partnership with GMH to a new, locally registered charity borne out of this focused need – Fondation Amane pour la Protection de l’Enfance (FAPE) . MCT now operates its drop-in centre with FAPE under the name Centre Amane.