I want to give a Shukran bizef (a big thank you) to all my family, friends, professors, former colleagues, etc who so generously donated to our sports and games project. I am so relieved that we reached our goal! We really need the basic sports equipment (soccer balls, basketballs, ping-pong table, etc) and games (chess, monopoly, UNO, etc) at the dar shebab to create teams and clubs and increase our programming. I actually don’t have access to the names and contact information of those who donated or not, so please let me know so I can send you a personalized note of appreciation. You can email me at email@example.com. I want to give a special Shukran to my mom who lugged over Frisbees and UNO cards from the US via Spain to Morocco. I ordered the Frisbees at no cost to Peace Corps Volunteers from Discraft. Shukran Discraft!
There are a couple of other good organizations that donate or give discounts to PCVs. I recently received a package of 2000 crayons from No Crayon Left Behind, Inc (Don’t you love that name?). They collect unused crayons from restaurants and send them to children in need. Shukran No Crayon Left Behind!
The developing sports and games teams and clubs project ended up not really being a grant like I had originally thought when I applied because I had to fundraise $1,323.33 which was disappointing. There doesn’t seem to be a steady budget from the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports for building maintenance, equipment, and materials/supplies at the dar shebab and I’ve had to use my living stipend to print announcements, make photocopies, and buy paper, pens, markers, etc. Funds are lacking too in the Peace Corps and PC Morocco small grants’ program. The dar shebab does have an office, several activity rooms, a library, a computer room, and tables and chairs. I think the greatest asset is the dedicated volunteers at the dar shebab who also depend on grants.The computer lab has 8 computers from a grant from the ST Microelectronics foundation where computer literacy classes are taught on a monthly basis. An active association called Ajilal (generation in Arabic) that uses the dar shebab space has a grant from the Rhamna Skills foundation to fund a theatre workshop this Fall with a Moroccan celebrity in preparation for a big theatre festival this February!
Once we receive the final $500 from the King of Morocco fund, the Mudir (youth center Director) and I will start purchasing the materials/supplies and organizing them in the dar shebab. We’ve already made rules and sign in/out sheets so the equipment does not get broken or lost without consequence. We will also plan a big opening event to encourage the youth to come and use the new resources at the dar shebab. Already existing teams and clubs will be present to advertise their activities and events and then we will hold workshops on team and club formation and sustainability.
I’ll continue posting updates and photos about our efforts to help youth (males and females ages 15-30) to develop important life skills like communication, teamwork, leadership and volunteerism and adopt healthy lifestyles. Thank you again for your generous support and encouragement.