By Layachi EL hadiri
By Layachi EL hadiri
Marrakech – The Association of Teachers for Sustainable Development and the Fight against School Dropout (ACEDDLCDS) began its third school year in Mohamed VI University Hospitalization Centre (Mohamed VI UHC) in Marrakech on October 23rd, 2016.
Two years ago the association started a project called ‘School in Hospital’, which is considered to be the first of its kind in Morocco. When asked about the project’s goals, Kamal Ouhoud, head of the association, said: “Our project aims to give classes to the bedridden students in the Oncology and Hematology ward and keep up with those students on their return to school.” “The project also provides literacy and numeracy lessons in the House of Life, Marrakech which is an affiliate of Lalla Salma Foundation for Cancer Prevention and Treatment,” he added.
Generally, the project was hailed a great success. In 2015, it involved approximately 210 students in The House of Life, Marrakech. Also, about 810 parents and inpatients benefited from the project’s services in the same institution. School in Hospital has expanded this year to take in the maternity and children’s unit in the same hospital, the number of beneficiaries rising in tandem with this.
All teachers who are involved in this project are volunteers. “Roughly 90% of them work in state schools and about 10% work in the private sector,” said Mr Ouhoud. In addition to teaching patients and their parents, teachers raise their morale and give them psychological support. Specifically, they help patients, particularly cancer patients, look to the future with hope. Teachers also take part in many extra-curricular activities inside the hospital. They work under the supervision of Zakia Okhaya, the coordinator of the project. She is in charge of teachers’ timetables and she liaises between absent teachers and their substitutes.
The association engages in other activities such as providing assistance to students who come from impoverished families, providing them with school supplies at the beginning of every school year. It further provides support for the needy during Ramadan.
The opening ceremony of this school year took place in the seminar room of the hospital. The ceremony began with short speeches provided by the director general of Mohamed VI UHC, the director of The House of Life, Marrakech, a space designed to accommodate patients and their families during treatment period, a representative of the municipal council of Marrakech, and the head of the association.
The event was marked with a tribute to Moulay Mhamed Alwafai, founder and former head of ACEDDLCDS. During the ceremony, Alwafai was eulogized as the godfather of the association as he rendered a myriad of services to the association in general and to the “School in Hospital” project in particular.