Moroccan Children’s Trust (MCT) was registered as a UK charity in 2008. Struck by the amount of time that children and young people were spending in the streets as well as the harsh conditions in which he found some of them living, MCT founder Dr. Christopher Hands worked with a local social work team to understand the wider social, cultural and economic difficulties children and their families faced in Taroudant.
Upon completion of six months of participatory research with 43 street-connected children in Taroudant and three months of analysis and planning, MCT launched its Street Child Project in October 2010 – a social and educational community development project with some of Taroudant’s most vulnerable children and their families. The project began with the opening of a social drop-in centre, called Centre Amane, in the heart of town. 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. Moroccan Children’s Trust and Fondation Amane pour la Protection de l’Enfance (FAPE), its local partner, 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.
From 2012 to 2014, MCT and FAPE implemented a pilot project on civil registration in Taroudant. We assisted over 650 people without identity papers. Our work included public education events, case support by Centre Amane social workers, radio publicity, mobile outreach events in surrounding towns, training sessions with local officials and associations, as well as promoting changes to simplify registration processes. We also organized a Conference on Birth Registration, hosting 127 participants who worked together to draft a list of recommendations for further work.
In 2016-2017, we expanded this work to the entire region of Souss-Massa in Morocco and implemented project CARE (Citizens’ Access to Registration). CARE aims to extend our impact with a programme of activities that push for legislative reform on a national level ensuring that all Moroccans can obtain legal identity and thus be able to fully participate in a more just society. Our rights-based approach ensures that the most disadvantaged and marginalized children and families in southern Morocco have access to education, health and employment, promoting equality and a brighter future. Partners of this project include U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative, Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, among others.
In September 2017, MCT launched the first government-backed foster care project in Morocco. “Familles de Protection” (or “Osar al-Himaya”) aims to place vulnerable children, who would otherwise be cared for in residential institutions, in long-term foster families where they can receive the support they need. In a stable and supportive family environment, they will also have full access to health care, psychological support, and education. Partners of this project include UNICEF Maroc, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Moroccan League for Childhood Protection, and local associations.