News Release

Meeting Special Needs in Morocco

Non-governmental organizations receive support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Humanitarian aid from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Morocco is blessing the lives of students with special needs, adults with autism and children with cancer. Here is a look at three projects currently being facilitated by Church volunteers Roger and Sandra Carter, who are looking for ways to bless the lives of people who might otherwise be overlooked by society.  

Support for Children with Cancer

One of the humanitarian grants from the Church will provide equipment for a home in which children with cancer can stay while receiving treatment at a local hospital. Each child who comes to L’Avenir Cancer Center can be accompanied by a parent. Those served at the cancer center are some of the poorest in Morocco and often come from remote villages. Each year, the center supports as many as 2,500 families during a very difficult time in their lives.

The Latter-day Saint funding will support an expansion of the center, which is adding a kitchen where parents can prepare meals, a communal room with couches and a television, and outdoor spaces with tables and chairs.

The center also provides classrooms and a computer center so that the children can keep up with their education while they are receiving treatment. This makes it possible for these young patients to keep up with their classmates and not fall a year behind in school.  

A Second Chance for Education

Another project sponsored by the Church benefits the Second Chance School of Temara, a secondary school designed to help students who have fallen out of the traditional educational system. Public schools in Morocco often lack the resources to provide materials and equipment for special needs students. The center offers a second chance to learn skills that can lead to employment and better lives for the students.

A grant from the Church will fund specialized educational equipment that will help provide hands-on training in five areas: electrical work, hairdressing, carpentry, aluminum work and plumbing. So far, about 25 workshops have been supplied with this equipment, and 633 young people have been trained and reintegrated into the school process after dropping out of high school.

Student Fahd Bennaser said, “I am very happy to continue my studies in the new generation second chance center. I left school two years ago, something that I regretted. I found the educational environment very interesting since it allows me to discover the profession of aluminum carpentry and gives me the hope of earning my living easily in the future.”

The success of this project can best be measured by the fact that 93% of those who attend the Yacoub El Mansour Rabat center, which is the longest operating school, have been able to find a job or enter the formal school curriculum. The school has seen a 65% increase in participation of girls, and nearly 77% of participating girls have seen their social situation improve through their increased education. Nearly 200 girls are now reintegrated into the labor market or vocational training.

“It is so wonderful to be able to see the individuals that are blessed through Latter-day Saint donations, not just the numbers and figures that go into the many forms and documents, but to see the faces and smiles and hear the stories of how lives have been changed,” Sandra Carter said.

Blessing Those with Autism

The Carters are also assisting the Passerelle Autistic Center, which provides care and education to people over the age of 15 with autism. The center provides instruction in self-sufficiency, general education, music, sports, farming and the arts. As with other projects supported by the Church in Morocco, the goal is to teach skills that will open the way for employment. 

Funding from the Church will enable the center to create a place for outdoor activities in a protected environment. The grant will also provide a space for the students to stay overnight when their parents cannot be at home. Both of these efforts improve the quality of life for those with autism in the Passerelle center.

The president of the association that sponsors the center, Hassan Bourzare, said, “Thanks to [the Church], we were able to equip a dormitory with beds in order to allow our young people to benefit from a better sleep, equipment for their garden and the purchase of professional-quality sports and entertainment equipment.”

Collaboration Is Essential

It is essential to have good collaboration with both the nongovernmental organizations and members of the communities, according to the Carters. Roger Carter has been impressed by the work the local residents are willing to do to support these projects.

“We have been inspired and humbled by great examples of charity and compassion as families and staff work so diligently to serve and care for those in difficult situations,” he said. “We appreciate the dedication and compassion that so many of our partners exhibit through their good works and service as we endeavor to support them through contributions from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The Carters say that each of these projects is making a difference for those in need in Morocco, and they are grateful for the generous donations that make their work possible.

“It is sometimes hard to serve in a country where we don’t know the language and the culture is difficult to understand. But we do know that every person that receives help is a child of God,” Sandra Carter said. “We wish that everyone who has donated to the humanitarian fund could see the happiness their donations bring to people who otherwise would not have the opportunities to learn and grow and improve their lives.”

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