The Moroccan Association for Orphans is raising awareness of the plight of orphaned and abandoned children in Morocco, calling for concrete measures that care for children and ensure their rights in society.
Rabat – The Moroccan Association for Orphans (AMO) has introduced a national plan to have “a Morocco without abandoned children” by 2030, urging the government to support single mothers to discourage them from abandoning their children.
During its second National Forum on Orphans from February 9-10 in Casablanca—themed “The abandonment of children in Morocco, a tragic reality”—AMO stressed that abandoned children in Morocco are living a bitter reality and “real tragedy,” even in centers and orphanages.
AMO’s plan seeks alternative solutions to the children’s plight, proposing to the Moroccan government and all legal entities concerned with family and children’s rights in the country to provide support for single mothers who abandon their children because of social and economic difficulties.
The association calls for the government to provide unwed mothers with legal protection, impose DNA tests to identify the children’s fathers so they can also take responsibility, and remove penalties against unwed mothers.
Giving birth out of wedlock is illegal in Morocco. Article 446 of the Moroccan Penal Code stipulates that a person, if convicted of having sex outside of marriage, can be sentenced to one year’s imprisonment.
The association is also calling on the Ministry of Justice to review its strict adoption policies, facilitate the adoption of abandoned children, and to monitor and implement programs to prepare families wishing to adopt a child before allowing the final process of adoption.
AMO said that such measures should be taken into account to ensure that children are not abandoned again.
Marginalization of abandoned children in Morocco
AMO pointed out that abandoned or orphaned children in Morocco live through harsh conditions in addition to lack of parental love and affection which leaves a negative impact on their psychological health. The organization added that many find themselves unable to succeed in school or in their careers.
“Our goal is to break the taboos about the problem of orphaned children in Morocco, and facilitate their integration in family life, schooling, training, and professional life,” said AMO President Yassine Rafya Benchekroun.
According to Morocco’s High Commission for Planning, there are an estimated 30,000 orphans in Morocco.
Abandoned children are often cared for in institutions and child welfare centers across the country.
While some are lucky enough to be adopted, others continue to wait for their biological parents to come back for them for years until they grow up and leave the centers to face new hardships in society.