Home to a blend of cultures, hosting elements of both the developed and developing world, a traveler’s paradise, and a backpacker’s Mecca, Morocco has shades and fervor that are sure to ignite a curious soul. Be it the merge of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean oceans or the mix of Berber, Arab, French, and Spanish cultures, to absorb and explore all that the country has to offer – its mint teas, its souks, its diverse topography, its rich cultural and religious history, one needs to really get to travel the country in an up, close and personal manner. And thus, volunteering with VolSol in Morocco opens up a window of opportunity that lets all do-gooders and wanderlusters get the best of the country and also give back their bit.
The non-profit/development sector of Morocco is catching up slowly but steadily and calls out for enthusiastic volunteers who can volunteer to help with their time and skills in various projects available in the country. While the NGO Support Program in Morocco is ideal for participants interested in social work and social administrative work, the women’s empowerment program is a great opportunity for Gender Studies enthusiasts to explore the intricacies of women’s status in society and how to address the inadequacies of the highly patriarchal Moroccan society. Furthermore, the orphanage project, and teaching English and French project can be picked up by volunteers keen to work in the education sector and with kids.
Volunteering Solutions provides two different kinds of living setups for the overseas volunteers flying to Morocco. While one is a volunteer house with all the modern day facilities and equipment that make it a home away from home, the other is a host family accommodation, which lets the volunteers sneak peek into a typical Moroccan lifestyle. Both the living arrangements have some really amazing experiences attached to them. Living in a volunteer house will make you meet new people, make new friends from across the globe, manage things yourself, and more. With a host family, on the other hand, volunteers have the opportunity to interact with a local family and unveil some untold stories and cultural secrets of Morocco.
One of the most distinct things about Morocco, as an African country, is its diverse culture. When in Morocco, you will find a visible mix of Berber, Arabian and Jewish culture with influences of French and Spanish culture. Be it in the cuisine, clothes, language, market areas, traditions, festivals, or anything else that is attached to the local traditions. Don’t be surprised when you see Moroccans switch languages midway that reflects the cultures — Berber, Arab, French, and Spanish — that have crisscrossed the country. While Arabic is the official language, and one can hear the Moroccan dialect, Darija, being spoken locally. French is largely understood in the country and English is comprehensible in tourist areas. In addition, for volunteers, there is a dual benefit – a chance to pick up different languages and at the same time also be able to understand people in the project as all coordinators are well-versed in French and English.
Morocco has a diverse topography – be it the two mountain ranges that its known for – the Rif and the Atlas mountains to the arid Sahara region, the fertile soils of Northern Morocco along with a pristine and blessed coastline, Morocco has it all. The country is also a paradise for all kinds of travelers – the culturally curious ones, the backpackers, the conscious travelers, the beach lovers, the hiking enthusiasts and also the ones who have a penchant for music. From a diverse range of music being played in “Essa” to street music scenes of Marrakech, the country needs to be explored from its length to breadth to absorb the essence of it and which is why the 4-week compulsory duration of the Women’s Empowerment Program is a cherry on top for volunteers.
Every day is a learning curve in Morocco. It brings you closer to the locals and gives you an opportunity to have a deep interaction with them. You can learn about some interesting facts and stories from the past, and get to know the roots of their culture and traditions. It is only while volunteering in Morocco that you get such a platform where you not only get to witness the typical Moroccan lifestyle but also get to live one yourself.
From Hiking in the Rif Mountains to Mountain biking in Jebel Saghro, from Skiing in the Central High Atlas to Surfing in Taghazout, from Kayaking in the Ahansal Valley to Camel rides in Erg Chigaga, Unlike other African countries, Morocco has a distinctive way of offering adventure activities. One can choose to also add some, hot air balloon ride, drive dune buggies across rugged interiors of the city, and some sand surfing as well.
Hosting countless markets or “Souks” as known in Morocco are not just markets, it’s a part of their lifestyle. The hustle and bustle of the streets are chaotic and overwhelming but at the same time an essential feature of traveling to Morocco. And what do you get to shop? You name it, and it’s there. Handicrafts, clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes, food, flowers, all kinds of souvenirs – and the list could be endless. Head to Moroccan souks, especially in Marrakech, for an unparalleled shopping bustle.
Morocco has been well ahead of its other African and Islamic counterparts wrt its diplomatic relations with countries far and wide and that has spelled good news for globetrotters. With easy visa policies (even several visa-free entries for a stipulated period) for EU Citizens, US Citizens, Australia & New Zealand Citizens, and Canadian citizens, it’s easy to gain entry and travel around in Morocco.
For a truly diverse cultural and travel experience coupled with doing some meaningful work and making a contribution in the lives of the locals, volunteering in Morocco spells perfection. Drop us a mail at [email protected] to all your queries and for seamless volunteering journey.
A Culture, Gender And Social Enthusiast, Aparna loves being in and exploring diverse and multicultural setups. She finds solace in humor and reading up all kinds of things, including shampoo bottle directions.
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