People who know me and know my philosophy will tell you that the heart of my work at EnRoute is encouraging international volunteer work.  While there are many worthwhile gap year pursuits, getting to experience another culture while volunteering adds a special element.  Volunteering uniquely allows you to invest your time in a community other than your own and get to experience things in a way a traveler never would be able to.  If you give your heart and time to your volunteer work, you will get back ten fold in experience, new friends and a sense of pride in what you’ve contributed.

  I am always on the hunt for new volunteer programs.  For me to consider recommending them to my students, they have to be sustainable, safe and strike a balance between making a volunteer feel comfortable and valued while at the same time employing their skills for the benefit of the community in which he or she is working.

  I recently traveled to Morocco and was able to visit a volunteer site in Asni, in the foothills of the majestic Atlas Mountains.

Dar Asni, a boarding house for Berber girls seeking high school education
  The project site supports Education for All (EFA), an organization dedicated to education women in Morocco.  Many rural communities lack access to a secondary (high) school nearby, and families are often too poor to pay for their children, especially daughters, to board away from home in a town with a secondary school.  EFA scouts out and sponsors young women that show potential and drive, and board them for free in a safe, clean girls house and sponsors their secondary school education.
Latifa (left) and I speaking about Dar Asni

Latifa, the house mother, showed me around the beautiful facilities.  Volunteers that work at Dar Asni help tutor the girls in English and French, teach crafts or other skills and provide a strong female presence in the house.  The common area of the house had a bulletin board with information and pictures about previous volunteers – they all looked very well loved by the students!

Library of Dar Asni
Volunteer quarters – private bath, clean and simple!
View of the High Atlas Mountains from the roof of Dar Asni – all those trees in the foreground are apple trees!

 Please contact EnRoute for more information about our partner organization who organizes the placement for this volunteer site!