We aim to be as sustainable as possible and help, not dictate to local people. We are too small to be a registered charity but we do a lot of project work in the villages of Tighza. We work alongside the Tighza Village Association, Baraka Community Partnerships (a registered charity) and Exodus (the UK based trekking operator who has been bringing groups to Tighza for many years). The villages contribute what they can afford fundwise, labour and food for the workers, while the remaining funding comes from local tourism and visitors to Tighza who feel compelled to help out. In addition money, earned by the Homestays, helps the families to pay for making alterations or repairs to homes, medical expenses as well as every day living costs. At Riad Kasbah Oliver it is also possible to support women and children through buying local craft items made by villagers including earrings, bracelets, Berber rugs and necklaces.
By coming on a Homestay or Riad Kasbah Oliver holiday you can aid the local community to support themselves.
In 2012 we won the Trophee du Maroc Tourism Responsable for our projects with Exodus and Baraka Community partnerships.
The village would like a building to house 2 carpet weaving looms and be used as a room for English lessons which children have requested during the summer break from school. (Mountain children do not get to learn English at school). These lessons could be provided by visitors who want to get more involved during their visit.
The village association would like:
The villagers are keen to have their own nurse practitioner and a multifunctional community building with reading and learning rooms, meeting rooms and a nurses’ room. This would enable training of eg. Local midwives and be used for visiting health professionals and trainers (dentists, opticians, visiting Dr’s, vaccination clinics, nutritionists, midwives etc.), support groups locally (pregnant women and new mothers to support each other), the older ladies have requested the opportunity to learn to read their own letters, write and to manage their own money by learning maths. A birthing room for the midwives and nurse practitioners to assist with village births so women and babies will be at less risk than they are currently by the majority giving birth at home. To mid April 2012 only 9 babies were born in Telouet clinic (17km away), 6 women were sent to Ouarzazate to give birth and over 300 babies in the area were born at home assisted by local women who have experience but no formal training in delivering babies. (They have requested formal training to improve their standards of care).
The irrigation channel replacement project continues as and when funding allows and visitors whether individual or group who are interested in a hands on aid experience are welcome to work alongside villagers on these projects. We do ask that those who take part contribute towards materials like metal and cement.
Many of the younger villagers are keen to learn other languages so those with language skills to offer are welcome to run small language class groups during their visit. This needs to fit round the free time outside school hours.
We are also looking for holidaying or retired teachers who would be interested in coming to teach basic English and or French to the older ladies so they are able to converse with visitors to the village.
The hamam is now open to visitors., There are some updating works to be done to improve heat efficiency and fuel economy which we hope to complete in the Spring of 2017. Recpetion lounge furniture has been bought and there is now somewhere for hamam to rest and drink tea and eat cake or biscuits following their hamam. Families providing the cake and tea (until the hamam kitchen is fully functional) receive money from clients for this spreading the benefit of tourism.
A severe storm (now classed as a natural disaster) battered the South of Morocco 21-23 November 2014. Since March 2015, with help from volunteer groups and individual travellers, around 400 metres of irrigation channels, several bridges and channels by houses have been cleared, strengthened and rebuilt with more permanent structures.
The preschool classroom is complete thanks to volunteer groups who came over the Summer 2015 and 2016.
A Belgian charity built a new toilet block for the school.
The Moroccan Govenrment is paying for a village woman to teach 36 of the village older ladies to read, write and life skills. "You educate the women, you educate the village".
Further work is necessary on the school and is currently under discussion with the local authorities.
Thanks to donations to Baraka Community Partnerships 19 life changing medical operations took place 4 hernia operations (3 on young boys), 4 goiter ops 1 on a young man in his early 20s another on a young mum of 1 who had multiple goiters, 7 Cataract surgeries; 2 on elderly ladies, 3 Gall stone operations. (Funding for operations is split between what the family of the patient can afford and other funding available through the Tighza projects).
On 1st and 2nd August 2014 first aid workshops were held by www.thefirstaidproject.com for the villagers of Tighza to give them the skills in basic first aid to help themselves. They learned how to effectively treat minor injuries, cuts, burns, sunburn also how to deal with choking and CPR and what action to take in an emergency. Each family received a First Aid Kit as did each village chief.
Anecdotally it was interesting to find that all the local women had low blood pressure and even westerners for which we were 2 had assimilated to have low blood pressure like the local women. On the other hand several of the young and middle aged men have very high blood pressure and were advised to visit a medical clinic for assessment and treatment.
The following important work could not be done without our volunteers and guests who love the villages and the people.
Fatima age 16 had catarcts removed from both eyes she had had from birth until age 12 (enabling her to attend school)
Our first Moroccan visiting medical clinic funded by a group who visited in May 2012. 237 people were treated including minor surgical procedures done during the visit. This is an interim solution to the health care issues until we can find enough corporate donors to assist in building the multi functional building which would house a medical room and dispensary.
Mohamed El Qasemy is one of the chiefs of the Tighza Village Association and has been running the Tighza Project since March 2007 when it was set up by Exodus the London based Trekking and Walking tour operator. Years earlier Exodus provided labour and funding for piped drinking water for the villages of Tighza and to build a toilet block for the school which was previously without toilets. Since 2007 the village has built a wall around the school and in partnership with Exodus now has school gates. Exodus has run 10 successful volunteer trips to Tighza to revamp the schools in Tighza and Taffarout; providing a better learning environment for the children. Volunteers have also repaired and painted homes of elderly villagers and very poor families. Since 2011 volunteers and villagers have been working together replacing earth irrigation channels with more permanent structures and helping with building of the village hamam.
Disposal of plastic, batteries, metal, broken glass and crockery is a big problem in Morocco as there are few recycling facilities for these types of waste. The Homestay houses, including those outside of Tighza are encouraged to dispose of their waste safely and appropriately and not to have litter within the vicinity of their homes.
We are gradually educating the villagers about responsible disposal of waste and discouraging littering.
Recycling projects are in their infancy here, but since 2011 there is a regular collection by travelling van of metal including tins, plastic shoes and plastic and glass bottles, the children gain money for every kilo they collect.
The hamam is open and provides local employment and self sustainability as a stand alone part of the project. The kitchen area to offer tea and biscuits still needs to be completed and we aim to complete this room in 2016. Entry for visitors is 40dh much less than in city tourist hamams. Savon noir and hamam glove can be purchased in the hamam and you pay the person who scrubs you down with a tip eg. 20dh.
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