Volunteer in Morocco
For centuries, Morocco has been known as the place where shadows merge with sunlight and where the sky and the sea meet at the horizon. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Morocco is full of vibrant colourful landscpes and natural beauty. In addition to its geographic diversity, Morocco has been described as an ethnic mosiac with the Imazighen (the indigenous Berbers), Arabs, sub-Saharan, nomadic, Jewish, and Andalusian populations and influences. These different groups have interacted with one another and shaped Moroccan culture and heritage, and over time they have created unique Moroccan traditions and identities.
Multilingualism in Morocco is an excellent indication and reflection of these diverse groups of people. For many years, Modern Standard Arabic was the country's only official language.
However, in 2011, a constitutional referendum officially recognized the Tamazight (Berber) language as a national language, alongside Arabic. In addition to these official languages, French is taught in primary schools and spoken in urban areas of the country. The country's spoken Arabic dialect, Darija, is very different fromthe country's officially recognized Modern Standard Arabic, which is mainly written or used on television and in other formal settings. English is growing more common as Moroccans are electing to study it in school.
Although Morocco has come a long way since gaining independence in 1956, the government and population still face a series of challenges: the illiteracy rate is over40%,
and for several years, the unemployment rate remained at around 12%. Moreover, there are severe disparities between rural and urban living standards and resource availabilities.
Founded by several young Moroccan adults in 2002, the Thaqafat Association is a non profit, cross cultural association that is devoted to promoting Moroccan culture and the interests of the Moroccan people. , Thaqafat strives to make the country's non governmental organizations (NGOs) and philanthropic projects accessible to volunteers from all around the world. The association cooperates with a number of NGOs, mainly in Rabat, Salé, Casablanca, and several rural regions, in order to facilitate volunteer projects. Volunteer projects might address concerns and themes such as the welfare of people with disabilities, women's rights, education, the environment, and health care. Thaqafat's relationship with these NGOs enables the association to match applicants' various interests and needs to those of a specific NGO's project.
Volunteer Abroad in Morocco Overview
After the orientation sessions, volunteers will join the host project to begin the volunteer service. If a volunteer plans to stay in Rabat, s/he has the option of working a minimum of 1 week and a maximum of 3 months. However, those who plan to work outside of Rabat must commit between 1 and 3 months to the project Thaqafat requires this extended committment so that the volunteer might compensate for the additional time spent travelling to a site outside of Rabat. Furthermore, if a volunteer chooses a project placement outside of Rabat (and the immediate surrounding area).s/he will be required to participate in a homestay (this may cost more than a homestay in Rabat) or on site accommodations at the project. Private rooms are not guaranteed.
Current host projects address a variety of concerns from education and health care, to culture and crafts. VIP's long term program may include specific volunteer work such as:
- Teaching English and French to children in rural and urban areas
- Developing literacy programs in remote villages
- Assisting in family planning, basic health care, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition
- Teaching computer skills at various levels
- Working in shelters or associations that assist female victims of violence, single mothers, orphans, or homeless children
- Helping village craftsmen and women expand their clientele of their weaving or pottery products
- Helping develop kindergartens and nursery schools in rural and urban areas
- Completed and signed Thaqafat application
- Evidence of medical and accident insurance
- Written commitment guaranteeing completion of the volunteer program
- Signed and faxed documents 4 weeks prior to arrival
- Language placement test or indicated interest for particular language
Arriving in Morocco, volunteers will participate in a 3 day orientation period in Rabat.
Where you'll be staying
If a volunteer is scheduled to arrive past 3pm on a weekday, or during the weekend, the volunteer will be required to stay in a hotel until the following business day. Thaqafat will make any necessary hotel arrangements; please note, however, the cost of a hotel stay will be incurred by the volunteer. Volunteers can choose to stay in an apartment, hotel room, or with a Moroccan family in a homestay. Apartments or hotel rooms are arranged and paid by the volunteer in addition to their program fees. If a volunteer chooses the homestay option, s/he will share a room with a family member of the same sex; single rooms are typically unavailable. Note: Some Moroccan homes may not provide hot water or showers. In turn, volunteers might use the public baths, which are extremely popular with both urban and rural Moroccans. On a similar note,toilets may be either Western style or Turkish style.
During these orientation days, volunteers will gain an understanding of Moroccan culture and customs: volunteers will learn about the history of Morocco, street harassments, Moroccan dialect session and more. Volunteers will also recieve important information regarding travel safety, medical concerns and living conditions. Finally, volunteers will become acquainted with the issues and concerns that they will be addressing through their chosen project.
"My family was very nice to me and I loved having my siblings in my age who became very good friends to me. They really made me feel I am part of the family." Anna Backman- Sweden
Volunteers are encouraged to plan their travel in coordination with Thaqafat. It is preferred that volunteers arrive at the Thaqafat office to arrive at the Thaqafat Office before 3 p.m. on any day Monday through Friday so that they might meet with Thaqafat staff and be introduced to their host families as soon as possible.
Program Fees 2015*
|Length of Program and Options||Cost|
|Short-Term (1-4 weeks)|
|Click here for dates & fees for short term programs|
|8 Week Programs|
|8 weeks - full program with Arabic courses and homestay||US$ 2,874|
|8 weeks - with homestay and no Arabic courses||US$ 2,277|
|8 weeks - with no Arabic course and no homestay||US$ 1,596|
|12 Week Programs|
|12 weeks - full program with Arabic and homestay||US$ 3,821|
|12 weeks - with homestay and no Arabic course||US$ 3,223|
|12 weeks - with no Arabic course and no homestay||US$ 1,860|
What the program includes:
- Application processing, interview and pre-departure information via emails
- 60 hours of language classes
- Placement and accompanied visit to community service project
- Ongoing support by local volunteer coordinator
- Homestay (room and half board, breakfast and dinner) (if selected - see program options above)
- Volunteer work (from 1 to 3 months)
- Placements outside of Rabat include homestay or on-site accommodations at an additional fee. Contact your sending office for details.
Extras (at additional cost):
What the program doesn't include:
- Medical and accident insurance
- Travel to and from Morocco
- Airport pick up upon arrival and back to airport at departure
- Transportation in-town and between cities
- Hotel accommodations on arrival night if needed. Those arriving on weekdays by 3 p.m. will go directly to their host family.
- Room and board if homestay option is not selected
- Lunches during project placement
- Personal expenses
Intensive Language Course
Thaqafat Association organizes Arabic classes depending on the needs of the host organization and volunteers. The objective of the course is to equip volunteers with fundamental communication skills so that they might hold basic conversations with their host families, and NGO colleagues.Through improved communication, Thaqafat and VIP hope to foster the volunteer's relationships with native Moroccan's so that he/she might learn about and experieince Morocco's rich, diverse peoples and their traditions. Additionally, Thaqafat and VIP aim to help volunteers develop unique approaches to understanding and appreciating cultural differences and the humanitarian issues unique to Morocco. While, under some circumstances, language classes are encouraged, they are by no means required for Thaqafat's volunteers.
During the volunteers' stay, a Thaqafat hired language instructor will take him/her on one excursion to a local market, a museum or a histrical monument of Rabat. Thaqafat will provide basic classroom preparation and discussion prior to this excursion.
A deposit of 20% of the total program fee is required with your application. It is non-refundable upon notification of acceptance and is applied to the total program fee. The balance of the program fee is required 30 days prior to departure.
- Cancellation after acceptance and prior to placement confirmation - the deposit is forfeited
- Cancellation after confirmation of placement - 50% of the program fee is forfeited
- No Show or Early Departure from Program - 100% of the program fee is forfeited
endorsed by America's Unofficial Ambassadors