Rabat – Many ex-pats living in Morocco want to volunteer. Finding the right ways to help, however, can be difficult.
When Heather Choate Hall moved to Morocco, she knew she wanted to get involved in the local community. Despite being told that it would be difficult to find opportunities, she set out to find ways to help. Eventually, her dedication connected her with other ex-pats in the area and together they decided to build a database of volunteer opportunities.
After visiting numerous charities and building a list of places that both needed help and were willing to work with ex-pats, Hall began to share those opportunities with those who expressed interest.
As volunteer opportunities solidified and interest grew, social media, such as Facebook, proved the “perfect outlet for communication.” Hall told Morocco World News, “Almost all of my volunteer coordination is done through Facebook and Facebook messenger.” She explained, “I can reach wide audiences through our ‘Rabat Volunteer and Donation Opportunities’ Facebook page, and the same goes from when I post on other Facebook pages.”
Demonstrating the success of these efforts, the ‘Rabat Volunteer and Donation Opportunities’ page now has almost 100 members and posts weekly updates about how to get involved. The page also shares the success of volunteers and the various organizations that they have partnered with.
For Hall, the connections made possible through both social media and in person meetings have allowed her not just to find meaningful ways to help, but to share those opportunities with others. She explained, “My greatest joy has been connecting the dots between an ex-pat who wants to serve their community but not knowing where to go, to a specific need within an organization like IKHAE [a women’s association] or CSK [a center for handicap children in Salé] or the Children’s Hospital.”
Thanks to the work that many ex-pats have already devoted to coordinating opportunities the new volunteers should have an easier time finding opportunities and continuing to find success helping existing partner organizations.
Some of these success have included fundraisers from the playroom at the Children’s Hospital, connecting marines stationed in Morocco to CSK, helping IKHAE find English teachers and mentorship for starting cooperatives, aiding local resources for Sub-Saharan migrants and painting rooms at the Boy’s Orphanage in Akkari.
Based on her own experience Hall has some advice for those coming to Morocco and hoping to volunteer: “There are plenty of opportunities out there, you just need to find them. Moroccans are generally happy to have you work with them, no matter if you speak the language or are not from their culture.”