Lions in Action: Changing Lives in Morocco
About 20 percent of Morocco’s population lives at or below the poverty line. Young children often miss out on the nutrition needed for their growing bodies, as well as the education necessary for their expanding minds. Many adult women, including the growing number of single mothers, never had the opportunity to attend school and lack job skills such as the ability to read or write.
The Lions Step In
The Rabat Chelleh Lions Club saw the challenges uneducated women with children faced on their own. The Lions wanted to provide hope to these families and help meet the national goal of promoting literacy. By establishing a school for women that includes a preschool and education center for their children, Lions are fulfilling the needs of the entire family. “It was our dream for a long time and now many children are receiving an education,” said Nicole Mejjati, a member of the Rabat Chelleh Lions Club.
Hard Work Pays Off
The Lions who work at the center as tutors, mentors and role models are changing the lives of Moroccan women – one family at a time. While the youngest students play with blocks in one classroom, older students learn Arabic and French in another area. All students receive a hot meal, which for some, is their only meal of the day. “We are very proud and happy because these children have learned to read and write,” said Lion Khadija Guedira.
These services allow mothers time to work on their own education. In a country where 55 percent of women older than 15 cannot read or write, these vital skills empower the students. “I never learned to read or write until I came here,” said student Fatima Meden. “Yesterday, I cried in the center because I’m so happy to be able to learn.”
Without the assistance of Lions, 70 percent of the students could not afford school supplies or textbooks. The school teaches traditional subjects such as reading and writing, and also gives the women skills such as sewing to help them find jobs.
Make It Happen: Encourage Literacy in Your Community
- Why did the club decide on this project? »
After the government launched a nationwide initiative to increase literacy, we wanted to get involved. This is a very poor area in which divorced or widowed women are unable to get jobs because of a lack of educational resources. We wanted to give them the tools to survive and improve their lives and the lives of their children.
- How did the club start this project? »
To stop the cycle of poverty, we needed to not only embrace the women, but also their children. We established a preschool so the children could also learn.
- How do you fund this project? »
We continuously fundraise to ensure the school has all the resources it needs to educate and empower both women and their children.
- What kind of resources does it take to keep this project running? »
Not only does this project require tireless fundraising, but it also employs hands-on service including tutoring and mentoring by our Lions.
- Any special words of advice? »
Be flexible and open to new ideas. Observe your community to discover their needs, then get their input on your project to keep it thriving and successful.