Social and Employment
El Jadida, Morocco
Abdelaziz Bougja, Veolia
50,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/12/06
SOS Villages d'Enfants
In Morocco, a country in an economic and demographic boom, 44% of the population is less than 20 years old. And while many families are succeeding in raising their standard of living well beyond their parents' and grandparents', others remain in extreme poverty. It is not unusual to see young, and sometimes very young parents caring for a child they incapable of feeding. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 children are abandoned.
A roof over their heads, some affection and an education
Founded in 1956, SOS Villages d'Enfants takes in children around the world who are orphaned, abandoned or abused and raises them. The non-profit organization became aware of the situation in Morocco and established a presence there in 1985. Since then, three SOS villages with the capacity to house 300 children have already been created. Siblings are kept together whenever possible in "family" homes, where they are raised and helped by an "SOS mother" until they are capable of living on their own.
Given the great needs in Morocco, SOS Villages d'Enfants wanted to open a new village sometime in 2006. It will be south of Casablanca, in the city of El Jedida, on the Atlantic. There, 108 little orphans find conditions under which they can thrive: emotional warmth, food, healthcare, the safety provided by family life and an education.
Along with other companies and the city of Sète, the Veolia foundation is providing support for the project. Its 50 000 euros grant is earmarked to buy the furniture and bedding for the new village's 12 apartments.
Living just like other children
The 12 apartments on the SOS village of El Jedida were inaugurated in August 2006. Most of the children and their "SOS mothers" had already started living there a month before. In September, they took the path to school, just like other Moroccan children. A "normal" life, with pleasant accommodations, staffed by adults eager to build them a future in Moroccan society.
The impressive organization of the SOS villages, and the results obtained with children hitherto left to their own devices, encouraged the Veolia foundation to support the association once again, in France, in 2007.