We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
By Alison Muscato
Access to education is a challenge facing students in many parts of the world, including some areas in Morocco where unofficial ambassadors volunteer.
Located in a rustic shepherding village, the Tarmilaat Village School serves about 25 students ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old. Before its construction, students had to walk several miles and cross a busy roadway to get to the nearest school in the next village, a journey some were unable to make. This summer, the school would have shut its doors for several months were it not for Andradene Lowe and Phoebe Shelor, two of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors who taught French and organized summer activities in partnership with parents in the village.
At the same time, in the nearby town of Azrou, Unofficial Ambassadors Alessandra Testa and Neethi Vasudevan were teaching English at the Al-Akhwayan Azrou Center for Community Development. While the Azrou Center has many programs, all focusing on various education and job-training, it had never been able to host a summer ESL program for students until unofficial ambassadors began serving there in 2013. Neethi and Alessandra were able to continue that program in 2014, planning lessons and teaching several classrooms of students for six weeks.
In both of these placements, unofficial ambassadors are able to expand education access for students, who otherwise might have missed out on a chance to learn during the summer months, by providing lessons that help students to perform better in the next academic year.
If you’re thinking of applying to serve in Morocco, here are some fast facts that offer some insight into its education needs and challenges, as well as some first-hand accounts from previous unofficial ambassadors.
From the CIA World Factbook, Morocco World News, and the World Bank
Read about volunteers’ experiences with education in Morocco on our blog: Teaching in Moroccan Time, A Whirlwind Beginning, Math in Morocco, Teaching French in Morocco, Learning to Give in Morocco, and a video of Azrou Center Festivities.