“From Saharan dunes to the peaks of the High Atlas, Morocco could have been tailor-made for travelers.” – That’s what the Lonely Planet says while describing this magical land.
Located in the Northern part of the African continent, Morocco is very unlike the rest of Africa. You won’t find the Big 5 in the wilderness, neither the primates nor the tribal folks! But the beauty and charm of this country are absolutely breathtaking and the old world charm will definitely blow your mind.
While walking down the lanes of the souks in Rabat, crossing the sand dunes of Sahara or exploring the blue streets of Chefchaouen, you’ll feel the same way you felt while reading the tales from Arabian Nights!
In spite of the recent developments, the country still has a huge population living in underprivileged conditions and dealing with several problems, each day. Volunteering in Morocco will definitely be a journey that’ll change your way to look at life and turn you into a more humble person.
In this Comprehensive Guidebook, we have attempted to answer all the questions that might pop up on your mind when you think of setting out for a philanthropic journey to make a difference.
Being one of the most popular destinations in Africa, Morocco attracts a lot of students and gap year travelers as well as backpackers who are enthusiastic and eager to explore the gorgeous nation & at the same time, contribute towards the development of the society in some way or the other.
Volunteering Solutions, in association with local Moroccan organizations, have been running 4 sustainable volunteering programs, and you can choose to be a part of any, that aligns with your choices and preferences.
If you love to be around kids and wish to shower the underprivileged children with some happiness, then the Childcare & Orphanage Program would be absolutely perfect for you. Remember that you have the power to be a role model for these children, who otherwise have a very difficult life. Being a volunteer, you would get to work with children ranging from toddlers to young adults who are around 16 years old. Spend adequate time with the children, teach them basic lessons of English/ French and Maths, as well as extra-curricular activities like arts, crafts, dancing, and music etc. Tell them stories of your life and inspire them to dream of a better future.
Program Duration & Fee – The minimum duration to be a part of this program is for 1 week, while the maximum is for 24 weeks. The cost for one is $410 which will include Airport Pick-up, Accommodation, Meals, Project Orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
If you wish to take up an active role to bridge the gap between the common man and the government in Morocco and gain some first-hand learning experience of dealing with some critical social problems, then this is your chance. Be a part of the NGO Support Program and get associated with local organizations dealing with human rights, child issues, women rights, education, strengthening the government accountability etc. You’ll be working in the city of Rabat and guide the NGOs with ideas and skills to do their work in a better way. Also, help them out with documentation work and provide your skills in strengthening the society.
In spite of the fact that the government provides free education to everyone below the age of 15 years, Morocco has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. Thus, volunteers joining the Teaching Program in Rabat get to play an important role in the lives of the children. You will be placed in community schools, public schools or schools run by NGOs where the teacher-student ratio is inadequate. You can help the teachers in preparing their daily lessons and organize interactive classes with the aim of improving the pronunciation and conversational skills of the students. Apart from English/French, you can also teach Maths, Science etc.
A huge chunk of women population in Morocco are still victims of poor economic and social conditions. A lot of women live in poverty and are abused, especially, in the underprivileged communities. Being a volunteer for the Women Empowerment Project, you’ll be playing an active role in the lives of these women, guiding them to earn their livelihood, safeguard their rights and make them aware of it and also, help them become independent individuals. We’ll be working with local NGOs and women’s rights organizations who have been fighting for the cause for quite some time. It will be a little challenging, but nonetheless, the experience you’ll gain would be unparallel.
Note: You need to have some knowledge of either Arabic or have the basic level of French to take part in this program. You can also opt to learn Arabic or French while volunteering under this program.
Program Duration & Fee – The minimum duration to be a part of this program is for 4 weeks, while the maximum is for 24 weeks. The cost for one is $990 which will include Airport Pick-up, Accommodation, Meals, Project Orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
The most important criteria to be a part of any volunteering program is openness. You must be patient and calm, as well as enthusiastic enough to adjust to any situation and hope to deal with any circumstances that might crop up.
It is essential for you to understand that no luxuries would be available during this journey, however, we shall try to make this experience as comfortable as possible.
Know that volunteering is a serious task and needs immense focus and sincerity. So, if you have the motivation to help others, the dedication of being a part of a meaningful project and the enthusiasm to travel abroad to do something worthy, we believe that you can be a volunteer.
It is not essential to know French/ Arabic (except if you are joining the Women Empowerment Program). However, it’ll be an advantage for those who have a grip over any of the languages. You can also opt to learn French/ Arabic while you are there in Rabat.
If you are a citizen of the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan or a majority of the EU countries, you won’t need a visa to enter Morocco. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months, and you can get a 90-days Tourist Stamp on your passport. For citizens of other countries, a valid visa would be required to travel to Morocco. You can contact the Kingdom of Morocco Embassy that is nearest to you or simply gets in touch with our Program Advisor for further assistance regarding this.
All volunteers have to arrive one day before their program start date, that will be a Sunday considering that the programs start on a Monday. Please check your program start date, and coordinate with the Program Advisor. Volunteers are picked up from the Rabat–Salé Airport (RBT) by the local coordinator or representative and taken to the respective host family accommodations. Ryan Air, Royal Air Maroc, Air France and Iberia are some of the major airlines flying directly to Rabat.
However, Mohammed V International Airport (Popularly known as the Casablanca Airport) is a much popular one, having connectivity to major international airports, and often volunteers take flights till here. From Casablanca, you can arrive in Rabat by a convenient one hour train ride. Volunteers will be received at the Rabat Ville Station by the local coordinator or representative and will be transferred to the volunteer accommodation. You should let us know where you’ll be arriving so that our coordinator can be there and you don’t have to face any hassle when you are there.
On Monday, there will be an Orientation Session which will cover the program highlights and provide you with details about the city of Rabat. You will get to know about the local culture, marketplaces, ATMs, internet cafes and where to shop for your daily essentials.
Like we mentioned earlier, during a volunteering journey, you can’t expect the luxuries that you usually enjoy at home. However, Volunteering Solutions has always ensured to provide a ‘home away from home’ experience to all the volunteers.
When you choose to volunteer in Rabat, Morocco, you’ll have the options to either stay at the volunteer house, along with your peers or at a homestay accommodation, with a host family. Both the accommodations have their own perks.
At the volunteer house, you’ll be living with others who have traveled from different parts of the world and come together for a common cause. You can share your thoughts and ideas with them, listen to their stories, and think about how you can work for change. You never know, you might just bump into your BFF at the volunteer house!
On the other hand, a homestay accommodation will be the best way to immerse yourself in the Moroccan culture and learn more about the day to day lives of the locals. You’ll be staying with a host family, who can tell you more stories from the past, and help you to look deeper into the societal structure.
The volunteer house is located at a distance of about 10-15 mins from some of the project locations. The house has 5 huge rooms which are shared among the volunteers, on the same gender sharing basis. The house has an operative kitchen, which you can use. There’s a beautiful terrace as well.
Volunteers will be provided with 2 meals (Breakfast & Dinner) daily, at the accommodations. The dinner meals usually consist of traditional Moroccan dishes like Couscous, Meat, Bread, Soup, Salad, Olives etc.
We always tell our volunteers to abide by the cultural norms and customs while traveling in a particular country. Your trip to Morocco will definitely be more rewarding and enjoyable if you know what to expect and how to respect their culture and religious restrictions.
Let’s take a quick look at the Dos & Don’ts that you must follow during your volunteering journey in Morocco:
During your journey in Morocco, you’ll be spending your weekdays at the project site mostly, but the weekends will be all yours, to explore and experience the goodness of this North African country. Here’s a list of things that you can do and places you can visit during your volunteer trip in Rabat – check them out!
Explore Chellah – Admire the beauty of Roman and Islamic ruins at this medieval fortified city buried in the heart of Rabat. Marked as a World Heritage Site, the abandoned buildings, and overgrown plants, immaculately maintained flowers as well as the public pathways will surely leave you drooling over its beauty.
Visit the Hassan Tower and Tomb – Although it might appear that the tower is split into halves, the truth is that the Hassan Tower wasn’t actually completed! The construction was started during the rule of Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, the third Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate in 1195, and in 1199, construction on the mosque stopped. The mosque is strategically placed on the high Southbank of the Bou Regreg river to provide an imposing spectacle visible for miles around. It’s one of the gorgeous mosques you’ll ever visit!
Walk down the narrow lanes of Kasbah des Oudaias – Translating to Kasbah of the Udayas, this white-washed fortified town was built by the Almohads in the 12th century on the site of the original 10th-century Rabat fortress, close to the Atlantic coastline. As you’ll walk down the lanes, you’ll get an insight into the historical life in Rabat.
Visit the Dar al-Makhzen – It’s the official residence of the King of Morocco. It is situated in the Touarga commune of Rabat, and beauty of this palace can be only admired from the central pathway.
Soothe your soul in a Hammam – You just can’t miss this opportunity to hit a traditional Moroccan hammam and cleanse your body and soul, letting yourself free from all aches and pains. You’ll find public hammams at almost every corner of the country!
Visit the Zoo de Rabat – This zoological garden is known for its lions, which may have been descended from the Barbary lion that used to inhabit the wilderness of Morocco and North Africa. You’ll get to see other species like eland antelopes, white rhinos, giraffes, binturongs etc.
Chill at the beaches – Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Mediterranean Sea to the North, Morocco has no shortage of beaches to explore. If you wish to chill on the beachside, then head towards Tamara Plage located 13 kilometers south of Rabat.
Weekend trips to Fez, Marrakech, Casablanca – You can seek assistance from the country coordinator or drop us a mail at [email protected] and we can arrange a weekend trip for you to these beautiful cities of Morocco.
Go for a weekend trip to explore the Sahara – Well, if you are looking for some adventure in the desert, then you gotta spend a night amidst the Sahara! Ride a camel and cross the dunes, gaze as the sun sets behind the golden horizon, and sleep under the starlit sky at a desert camp.
Morocco has too many things to offer the visitors, and you might just fall short of time, exploring all that’s there on your checklist. The best thing would be to discuss with the country coordinator and plan out your itinerary. Try to make the most of your time!
Morocco, undoubtedly, is hugely different from the rest of Africa and in spite of the recent developments, the country is still trying to cope up with the economic and social problems that are deeply rooted. If you’ve never volunteered before, then now is the time for you to get started. Volunteering in Morocco will endow you with privileges of helping others and working on self-improvement – all at the same time! Also, researchers at the London School of Economics found that the more people volunteered, the happier they felt.
If this question is hitting you, we aren’t surprised! In fact, this is a very common question that would strike anyone and everyone who decides to pay an amount to volunteer abroad, with the aim of making a difference. While choosing an organization, you’ll definitely think twice, and try to understand why this one is better than all others.
With its presence in 23 destinations all across the globe, Volunteering Solutions provides a plethora of volunteering programs in each of these destinations. In the last 11 years, since its inception, Vol Sol has placed more than 13,500 international volunteers on different volunteering projects as well as internship programs.
VoSol values the importance of ethical and successful volunteering, and through its deep knowledge in this field, it places a candidate into a program which suits him/her the best, according to the field of interest, skills, and educational background.
Vol Sol is associated with NGOs, schools, hospitals, orphanages, healthcare clinics, women empowerment and other social welfare organizations across the globe. From the time a candidate generates a query, through the process of clearing doubts, filling the application form, making payments, and reaching the volunteering placement location – the Vol Sol team takes care of everything. It is ensured by the dedicated Vol Sol team that volunteers/interns have a smooth and memorable journey while traveling. At each of our program location, we have our coordinators, who are available 24/7 to help the volunteers whenever needed.
Apart from these, Volunteering Solutions also provides help in various important divisions, such as;
Mengdi Zhu (United Kingdom), Childcare & Orphanage Volunteer Program
“The pre-departure booklet was really useful, providing me with much helpful info. The VS staff always replied promptly.
I really liked my program placement and it was actually simple work but required patience and care for others. The week there really changed a lot of thoughts about me. The placement was totally worth it and the staff there were all so nice. I would love to stay there for a longer time if I could.
Every single day has been memorable and precious to me because I’ve seen how those admirable people have been taking care of children, day after day, and I’m so glad to be a part of them.
The accommodation and meals were amazing! It’s a beautiful area in Medina, busy and convenient in the daytime and also quiet at night. I couldn’t be more grateful to my host family and their hospitality. I spent an incredible week with them! Ali our coordinator is an amazing person and a great friend. He showed me around, provided a lot of support to me and helped me to adapt to my placement there. Many thanks to him!
I will surely recommend this program to others.”
Erica Fumagalli (Italy), Women Empowerment Program
“Even if it has been for few days, I really appreciate the strength and the motivation of the women at the NGO. They made me participate in their work and gave me much information. Real interactions with people, cultural exchanges, knowing about the different problems and situations that the women face were undoubtedly the highlights of this trip.
The accommodation was great, and the family very very welcoming (a big thanks to them since they made me feel at home during the week) and the meals were good.
Ali, the coordinator was very helpful. He showed me around, made sure everything was working in the proper way and was always ready to discuss and share experiences.”
If there’s something that you think we’ve missed out, please let us know in the comment section below. If you have more queries, you can also drop us a mail at [email protected]
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Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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