Aysan Mehmet is a primary school teacher at James Wolfe Primary School andvolunteered in Marrakech for a month during August 2013.
“I chose Marrakech because there were lots of different project options, more so than others, and they seemed to really care about children.
I raised over £500 to buy equipment that might be needed for a project when I got to my destination in Marrakech. To raise money, each child at my school paid to make two friendship bracelets – one of which I took to Morocco to give out to the children there. We also did a Super-soak where the children paid to throw wet sponges at their teachers – including me! We received some amazing donations from parents; I also cooked and sold Moroccan food at the school’s summer fair.
Shopping for much needed toys for baby orphanage
The orphanage didn’t have much and I could see the babies needed help with their development. There were only two nurses for 30 babies so stimulation from toys was definitely needed! I only brought a few toys from England; the rest I bought from the French supermarket chain Carrefour when I got to Marrakech. In the end, we had to get a minivan for all the toys, which cost 50 Dirhams (about £4) in total! The junior staff were initially reluctant to take the toys, perhaps they were unsure how the manager would react, however the children’s reactions were amazing. They were so stimulated and ready to learn!
Ongoing needs at orphanage
When I returned to the orphanage, the owner was there and she personally thanked me and then listed all the other things they constantly needed such as bibs, nappies, and basic toiletries. She told me they get free clothes from a baby clothes manufacturer but they weren’t always good quality and were sometimes ripped. Personally, I think their floor needs developing as the children are not allowed to move around on it so a carpet might be the nextpractical donation they would benefit from. Also because it’s so hot, they don’t take the children outside during the day, so developing a shaded area of the garden may be another good idea!
Aysan helps at other rewarding projects
I enjoyed getting to know the children at the other projects over the month and also feeding the homeless people – their reactions were priceless and so rewarding, making it all worthwhile! I will definitely be volunteering again at Easter or next summer! I’ve also been talking to the head teacher at my school about what else we can do to help – we’re always talking and he’s happy to support me as much as possible!”
Volunteers bring fresh insight to local projects
Aysan’s experience proves that everyone can make a massive difference and gain huge benefit from knowing that their help reached those who need it most by direct support. It also clearly shows that gaps in local need can often be spotted by a volunteer with fresh eyes, for example the need for a soft floor mat and shade in the garden.
To Aysan, and everybody else who has contributed to the baby orphanage giving their time and/or much needed gifts over the past years, a massive thankyou!