‘Would you build a classroom for us, please’
In the Moroccan countryside, girls leave school at the age of eleven due to the lack of secondary schools in their neighbourhoods. At the same time, boys are commonly sent to family or friends in the city, allowed to ride to the city or too far away schools by bus or bicycle and are able to walk the long distances to get to school, unlike girls who are not offered the same opportunity. In response to this issue, SIAF launched a project in April 2003 to open a boarding house for girls, in Marrakech. The boarding house, now completed and open as of September 2005, comprises of a 3000 m² building with the capacity to host and support 200 girls aged 12 to 18 throughout secondary and further education.
The boarding house was purposefully built and established for girls who passed their exams to enter the first or secondary school cycles with an ‘A’ grade, and live at least 5km from the nearest secondary school. With a range of facilities for the girls to use, the boarding house offers food, lodgings, study and multimedia rooms, a library, cultural and study tutoring, as well as medical care, all totally free of charge.
At present, the boarding house boasts the following key facilities and amenities:
- 8 dormitories, bathrooms, and a lounge
- Dining hall, kitchen, pantry, storeroom, and a cold room
- Laundry and infirmary
- Study rooms, computer laboratory, and library
- Visitor’s room, Soroptimist Club offices, as well as Staff quarters.
Additionally, SIAF has set up an organisation to manage the boarding house. Ten employees are responsible for managing the administration, cooking, hygiene and security of the boarding house under the close supervision of the SIAF Association President.
This project originally set out to select the most deserving girls from the most remote areas, who may have been condemned to a life without education, forced into early marriages, or sent to cities to work as child domestic workers.
The project is now seventeen years old and the boarding house is widely recognised as a place of excellence. Exclusively for girls from rural areas, it is the largest boarding house in the region of Marrakech, Safi. The house welcomes the best students to continue their education with full support and at no extra cost, as well as providing them with training to enable their full social and civic integration at the end of their schooling.
Partners and their contribution
The project has been possible thanks to generous contributors, most of whom wish to remain anonymous. Moreover, financing in working capital is done through in-kind donations or funds raised from supporters of the association; main sources of funding for the boarding house have come from Sponsorship, Donations, Participations, and Fundraising Events, for which SIAF is incredibly grateful.
The issue today
Whilst keeping in mind that the boarding house currently fully supports 218 young high school girls and 25 girls studying at University, at the cost of 947 dirhams (about 90 euros) per month, per girl, the association has limited and irregular resources stemming from sporadic private donations, the sponsoring of a few school girls, fund raising events, and minor aids, as compared to our needs, from National Assistance programmes.
The operating costs are substantial today due to the level of organisation dedicated to the daily management of the boarding house. Expenses by type and related cost to:
- Housing with all the associated expenses
- Schooling of girls, School support and mentorship
- Commissary: sanitary products
- Management staff (10 individuals payroll)
- Fixed charges: water, electricity, telephone
- Medical and dental care
- Extra-curricular activities.
Today’s Estimated cost price per month for one girl
|Staff remuneration||130 DH||14%|
|Medical care||115 DH||12%|
|Water supply||25 DH||5%|
|Electricity board||40 DH||4%|
|Telephone and Internet||25 DH||4%|
|TOTAL||947 DH ≈90€|
Building profit generating retail spaces to take care of the boarding house expenses
From the fundamental wish to help empower young through education, there has grown a need to additionally recognise the necessity to generate regular income which would:
- make our action last
- relieve us of the anguish of September school expenses such as we endured with 218 girls this September 2019 school year
- relieve us of the anguish of whether we shall still be able to provide for decent care throughout the year,
- and the following years….
View the PowerPoint presentation from the Webinar on International Day of Education 2023 HERE