The Hannan Charity (UK Reg No 1101017) was established in June 2002 and was set up by the vision of Hmad and Hannah Naatit in order to bring education and hope to the Berber village of El Borj in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Whilst initially the charity managed to make a small but very real difference to the lives of the villagers, the charity has now grown and developed to the point where a significant and long term improvement can be made to the lives of all the children within the village.
The ultimate goal of the charity since its conception has always been to construct a fully equipped new school, catering for all of the children of the village from aged 7 to age 16. However small steps had to made first before this would be achievable and the vital necessity was for the children to receive an education right now, as well as secure one for there future! The charity currently sponsors around 70 children who attend the government funded school in El Borj from ages 7 to 12. This is very poorly equipped and has no real educational structure or regular staff attendance. After the age of 12 if the children wish to continue there education then they must travel to the government school in Khenifra, which they attend until aged 16. Khenifra is 10 kilometres from El Borj and transportation is either non existent or totally unaffordable for families who live in abject poverty. The children must either travel each day on foot or by Donkey along dangerous main roads, or move to Khenifra with friends or family for the remainder of there education. The charity has also purchased and converted a house in El Borj which is now a thriving Pre-school for children aged 3 – 7 years. Currently there are 27 children attending with only a small number of these children actually receiving sponsorship..
The charity is committed to providing education for all children of all ages and hopes with the construction of a new educational facility to ensure education, fulfilment of dreams, prospects and financial stability for generations of people that would never normally have this opportunity or be expected to achieve anything in life.
There was a small step made towards building the new school many years ago when a plot of land was purchased 1000m square within El Borj. A well has also been excavated in preparation for a water supply during the construction process and once the school is in use. There were some initial design drawings produced for a school at the time, around 8 years ago and an estimate of £65,000 was received at that time. The requisite number of classrooms has now increased along with the need to provide many other facilities which had previously not been considered. Given the passage of time and increased facilities the overall cost of the new project Iqraa is estimated to be in the region of £150,000.
This project (Iqraa meaning Read) is deep in the hearts and minds of everybody connected with the charity. New design plans are in the process of being drawn up and once available Moroccan law dictates, quite rightly that 5 separate quotations be obtained for the work. The anticipated construction duration would be 8 months.
Some of the reasons why this project is so important are listed below:
- Total population of El Borj 3,500
- 75% are unemployed
- 60% of children do not attend school or receive any form of education
- 83% of the village (men, women & children) are completely illiterate.
The charities vision for the new education facility would be to offer a full Moroccan National programme supplemented by an English language component. This prepares students for the Moroccan national examinations in readiness for the Moroccan Baccalaureate. In addition to demanding high academic standards and good discipline, the school would offer a varied and comprehensive range of sport, creative and cultural activities that would compliment and enrich the overall education programme.
The goal would be for the Iqraa School to excel and surpass the minimum requirements of the government education system. To provide a well structured and balanced curriculum promoting effective thinking, intellectual curiosity, creativity and a desire for life long learning. Each student should have dignity and self worth and strive for academic excellence. Each student should have respect for other individuals and their cultural diversity. In today’s interconnected world, communication skills, including learning other languages and developing technological competence is also essential.
The school would need 5 good sized classrooms, an IT room and a Practical Room (vocational training like woodwork for boys & cookery lessons etc for girls). There would be an Art classroom, Library, Kitchen, Staff Room, Meeting Room, Storage Room, Sports Hall and Prayer Room. There would also be small caretaker’s accommodation quarters and small visitor’s guest room. Classrooms would be used outside of normal school hours to provide much needed basic adult education to the village.
In addition there would be a small shop unit within the school complex for rent, this would provide food etc for the children whilst at school and create job opportunities for the village. There would be 4 – 8 teachers required plus a Director. Teachers would be selected by joint UK and Morocco charity trustees and will receive training in Morocco and also from overseas visitors. Salary would be £220 – £260 (3000 – 4000dh) per month. This would be paid by the charity with income from regular sponsorship of children currently £10 per month, but possibly supplemented by government grants. There would also need to be a full time security guard on a basic salary.
Once constructed the Hannan Charity would apply to the Kings Charity in Morocco for funding to provide furniture, computers and other equipment. This was applied for when the Pre-school commenced and the application was successful and the equipment gratefully received and lovingly used by teachers and children alike.