School in a Box initiative in Morocco

During the Easter holiday, 19 Sixth Form students went on a Geography fieldwork expedition to Morocco.

The Geography Calendar led by Miss Durnford successfully raised £2000 for Education for All and the students were lucky enough to visit one of the boarding schools that the charity runs in the Atlas Mountains. Several of our Sixth Formers had contacted their students in advance and through sharing ideas, images and language generated a highly valuable cultural exchange.

During the trip the Sixth Form students and staff visited a women’s association just outside Zagora in south-eastern Morocco. The association supports women who have recently been widowed or divorced and require refuge. The women collaboratively work together to grow food, look after children and teach each other craft skills that can lead to employment including weaving and textiles.

The students took ‘school in a box’ bags to hand out to the children. The brightly coloured bags were full of stationery, such as pencils, maths sets and calculators, as well as workbooks, stickers and toys, providing them with the tools they need to continue with their education.

Geography teacher Elen Harris said: ‘All the children loved the bags and the women and children at the refuge were hugely appreciative. In fact many of the children did not worry about what was inside the bag – the fact that they had a bright rucksack to wear made their day! This just highlights the stark demographic and economic contrasts between this poor part of South-Eastern Morocco and the lives of our students.'

The school in a box bags are an extension of the Outreach Box programme, which was launched in September 2017 and provides fun and specialist learning resources for primary schools in the UK. The bags are a new venture, enabling us to share the initiative globally.

We hope that on next year's field trip we will be able to build on these new links with the refuge and play a small part in improving the life chances of children living in this challenging desert margin environment. 

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