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  • Writer's pictureAli Amhal

Turning Point for a Better Future: A Children's Library for Ait Oumanouz

In November, Barb and our partner Ali Amhal set up a children's library in the small Amazigh village of Ait Oumanouz, southern Morocco. What does it take to transform young lives? These kids had never had access to books before, and they immediately embraced it.
Opening day at the Ait Oumanouz Children's Library

by Ali Amhal, Biougra, Morocco

Thanks to Oliveseed Foundation and their program Morocco Library Project, we proudly touched people’s lives directly last month. We created a children’s library in an Amazigh village and started preschool and extra reinforcement school classes. Children and young learners were provided with stories, encyclopedias, novels, and science books in three different languages: English, Arabic, and French.

The target beneficiaries live in Ait Oumanouz, Ait Milk, a remote countryside village in southern Morocco, where all the villagers are socio-economically challenged. Their kids had never had access to a library and books apart from their old school textbooks. The day we set up the library, kids had a great time exploring books laid out on a table, as their mothers watched warmly knowing their children will have literacy opportunities they were never able to have themselves.

To reap the positive intended impact of this initiative, thanks to Barb’s generous support, we also hired a college graduate to be in charge of the library and keep kids engaged, and at the same time teach kids and young learners so that they can keep up their education.

Our goal is to help families break the vicious circle in which dropping out of school leads to ignorance and later on to addiction, crime, poverty, and helplessness. I can’t think of another more valuable gift we can give to these kids, their mothers, and their families than books and education.

We hope this initiative will be a turning point for these children towards a better and more secure future. We saw how touching this library was when mothers’ tears expressed their sincere gratitude and heartwarming thanks to me, Barb, and all who contribute to Oliveseed Foundation and Morocco Library Project. We saw little kids caressing books, smelling them, reading stories, and looking at pictures. Such mothers and their kids need someone to bring them hope and light to usher their way to a dignified future.

Let us not give people fish; let us teach them how to fish.


About the Author

Ali Amhal is an English teacher at Ibn Sina High School in Biougra, in the south of Morocco; a long-time member of the Morocco Library Project (MLP) management team; and international liaison to the Oliveseed board.

In addition to teaching high school students, in 2020 Ali founded the Access Language Center in Biougra, a community center providing literature circles and language classes to people of all ages. He is also president of the local village NGO Ait Oumanouz Association for Development & Cooperation, providing support for rural Amazigh women and families, and preserving and planting native argan trees.


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