In 2009, Trekking for Kids, a US-based non-profit organization partnered with the Morocco Foundation to locate an orphanage in need in Morocco. The goal was to have that orphanage visited and refurbished during their short 3 days visit. The experience was worth every minute and to top off this wonderful partnership, Nezha Bidouane (World Hurdle champion) joined the event to run the final trekking part of the trip.
“Trip Report: Spain/Morocco Lite Trek 2009 – Camino de Santiago
Trekking for Kids completed its inaugural Lite Trek to Spain and Morocco June 13-28, 2009. By all accounts, the Lite Trek was a resounding success! Thirteen Trekkers from the US, France, Spain and Columbia walked the final 100 km (75 miles) of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain over 6 days, and then traveled to Ouarzazate, Morocco to complete the work that we set out to do at the Islamic Beneficence Orphanage.
Conscious of the challenging economic times, we initially set a conservative fundraising goal this year of $20,000 for the orphanage in Morocco. However, despite tough financial times, our Trekkers surpassed our goal and raised nearly $27,000 for the benefit of these special children. As in all Trekking for Kids expeditions, 100% of the funds our Trekkers raised went towards sustainable improvements to nearly all aspects of these childrenâ€™s lives. Trekking for Kids was able to make high impact capital mattresses improvements to the orphanage: new floors, lighting and plumbing, new mattresses, bedding, tables and chairs, a brand new bathroom for the girls, repaired and reconstructed rooms and courtyard walls, and a fresh coat of paint everywhere. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, these children now have more dignified living conditions, and a place to be proud of to call home.
Going beyond the brick and mortar, during our time in Morocco, our Trekkers took all 106 orphans on their first field trip in many years. We spent the day in the spectacular Dades Gorge, where Nezha Bidouane, national celebrity and Moroccan Olympic hurdle medalist, all of our Trekkers, and the children went on a mini-trek to a famous canyon overlook. The following day, Nezha Bidouane, led the children and the Trekkers on a 2 km race circling he town of Skoura, where the orphanage is located. Finally, on the last day, the entire town of neezhaSkoura organized a party to celebrate what Trekking for Kids had done for the orphanage. The celebration went into the night with appearances by local dignitaries and traditional Berber music and dance. As always, Trekking for Kids painted a large mural of our mascot, Miles the Monkey, onto one of the walls of the orphanage so the children can remember the many generous donors who have had such a great impact on their lives.
A final important note about this expedition is the exposure that Trekking for Kids (and consequently, the orphanage) enjoyed during our time in Morocco. Trekking for Kids had the opportunity to promote the needs of these children in the local media and through the voices of local celebrities such as Nezha Bidouane, the Governor of southern Morocco, himself an orphan, and the ladies morocco groupwho volunteer their time with the Morocco Foundation, based in D.C., who were also instrumental in organizing all of the work in-country. The attention generated by all of these people and our Trekkers brought local TV news stations and newspapers to write stories and broadcast specials about our work in Morocco. The good news that they reported was not just the work done by our Trekkers, but truly, all that was possible by the support of our donors.
On behalf of Trekking for Kids and all of the Trekkers on the 2009 Lite Trek to Spain and Morocco, thank you for trusting us once again!“