By Hamza El Mounhi
By Hamza El Mounhi
Morocco World News
Rabat, April 10, 2013
Morocco World News had the chance to meet with Anas Oulmidi, current president of “Lueur d’espoir,” a Moroccan NGO which is adopting a new approach to healthcare. It is now among the leading NGOs in the field with a growing staff and ambition. We have to say that we were pleasantly surprised to see that such energy exists in our country.
Let’s hear about this success story.
MWN: In a few words, could you explain to us the action and vision of “Lueur d’espoir”
Anas Oulmidi: Our NGO operates in the social and medical field. Beyond our actions in favor of populations in need, the underlying objective is to promote within the youth the culture of volunteering. Hence, we are always trying to put young people at the center of our operations and push them to act and think.
The founding principle of our structure is to “faire and laisser faire”. It is very important for us to have this kind of perception. Let me illustrate with an example: in the holy month of Ramadan, we organize collective feasts ( to break the fast) for women who have children in hospitals (we cover nearly all city’s hospitals-Marrakech). We distribute nearly 150 meals every day of the month. Today, “Lueur d’espoir” has a very successful track record and can easily raise funds to finance this project. However, we’d rather take a different approach and want everyone to be involved; everyday, we ask people to give in kind donation (milk, dates, fruits etc.) and are always surprised by their generosity. Sometimes, we have to ask them to stop giving. We are trying to involve everyone and open all the doors for anyone willing to help.
Anas Oulmidi :We work on many projects and it’s impossible for me now to talk about all that we do. We have however some projects that constitute the pillars of our NGO. We organize nearly 60 “health assistance caravans” intending to help in-need patients. We also work a lot on awareness building when it comes to some public health issues such as diabetes, sexually transmissible diseases and recently we are trying to promote organ donation. As I said before, we also have a social mission. We regularly organize visits and actions in favor of orphanages etc. More details are on our .
MWN: Any objectives for this year?
Anas Oulmidi: This year we have an ambitious program. Before getting into details, I would like to explain briefly the operating mode of our association. We are organized around three poles: Medical, Social and Cultural. Each pole will have to work on one or two big projects every year.
For our Medical-healthcare assistance pole, we organize around ten big Caravans. In order to improve the quality of our services, we put in place a mobile hospital equipped with all the medical materials that we need (echography etc). The objective is to enable the access to this kind of facilities to people living in rural remote areas.
Besides, we have created palliative care hospices for patients suffering from cancer, this kind of treatment is necessary for this type of patients to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, our country doesn’t have such centers. We are working on a study with the public hospital of the city of Marrakech to build the first palliative care hospice in Africa. We also collaborate in this project with the centers of Mareille and Beyrouth.
For our social pole, we noticed that there are many patients who obliged to sleep outside while waiting for an appointment or results of medical analyses. We decided therefore to put in place a reception house “Dar Chiffa” that will host patients for short durations.
For the cultural pole, we currently working on launching a social work competition to promote the culture of volunteering, it will take place in October and will be called Morocco Volunteer Work Award.
MWN: What are the main challenges that you are facing on the ground?
Anas Oulmidi: When we are working with the objective of helping people, all the challenges become tiny in our eyes. We do however face some hurdles when dealing with administrative matters. We find it hard to follow all the excruciating procedures that are imposed in order to conduct our actions. It is somehow breaking our ambitions and it is a bit sad. I will also add, just to illustrate, that transportation authorization are the most necessary and the toughest to get.
We have also faced some issues regarding our communication as we have to use non-traditional tools in rural and remote areas. Time is passing by and we are learning to make things more efficient.
MWN: You are an NGO delivering costly yet free services. I will assume that you rely on donations to fuel your programs. Is it easy to raise funds in Morocco for an NGO?
Anas Oulmidi: Actually, “Lueur d’espoir” barely has a relationship with the corporate world. We tend to prefer donation from individuals. According to our perception, social work will be more efficient if done discreetly and we all know that companies tend to over communicate on their social actions. We try however to strike a balance as some of our projects need to be known because they can inspire other organizations (examples: night walks to help homeless people, promotion of organ donation etc.). For other programs, we believe that it is counterproductive to communicate a lot, for instance when we help sick people or orphans.
In a nutshell, each type of projects has its type of donors.
MWN: Have you developed partnerships with private hospitals or other foreign NGO? how do you see the future of “Lueur D’espoir”? Taking this concept abroad may be?
Anas Oulmidi: “Lueur d’espoir” was created 8 years ago in Marrakech, today it is present across many cities in Morocco (Agadir, Beni-Mellal, Safi, Casablanca, Oujda etc.). We are also very active in Paris. One objective is to locate in countries and cities where there are a considerable number of Moroccan students willing to help their country. We will soon launch activities in Cairo and Ukraine.
MWN: If we follow the official speech, RAMED will make the whole idea of “Lueur d’espoir” obsolete as everyone will have access to a good quality health care service. What do you think?
Anas Oulmidi: Ramed is a very important scheme and as I always say, the happiest day would be when Lueur d’Espoir would have no reason to exist except to organize some cultural events. Unfortunately, today this thought seems utopic. Ramed is indeed helping many people in need among them many of Lueur d’espoir’s beneficiaries. However, in my sense Ramed is incomplete. The eligibility criteria are not well thought, for example a person who has 3 goats is not within the scope and cannot apply for Ramed. I shall remind you that a simple MRI might cost around 400 USD and it is nowadays a common thing which is systematically done. What will happen to the poor guy if he sells his three goats to get an MRI?
I don’t want to get too much in details, but we need to redesign how these cards are attributed, sometimes we see people driving a Mercedes with Ramed cards!
Nevertheless, it is a good initiative that needs to be promoted and we have to enlarge the scope of beneficiaries
MWN: It has been 8 years that your NGO exists; I believe that you have accumulated a considerable experience and knowledge around healthcare issues in Morocco. Is there anything that you’re doing well and that the state should take from you to improve its public healthcare systems?
Anas Oulmidi: I think that we are simply developing a better understanding of what healthcare means. As the WHO defines it, healthcare is a complete set of physical, mental and social well being. It is by axing our actions on these three aspects that we are able to deliver efficiently our services.
MWN: Well Anas, on behalf of Morocco World News, I would like to thank you for your time and wish you all the best for your next endeavors.
Anas Oulmidi: Thank you
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