Bursary Fund Supports Students in Bab Berred, Morocco

Some students overcome great barriers to obtain an education that can change their life’s trajectory. In Bab Berred, a town in northern Morocco, some students travel hours over the weekend from neighbouring villages in the mountains and stay in local hostels during the week just to attend school. For many of these students the only available accommodation to make continuing their education viable, is a hostel located near the school where they stay during the week, far away from their families.

Project Team Members Meet with Teachers and Administrators at the Student Hostel in Bab Berred

Completing secondary education lines these students up for many more professional possibilities than their unschooled peers. In rural Morocco, children without a secondary education are largely limited to agricultural or shopkeeping jobs. Education like this can mean the difference between a life in poverty and a life of financial stability.

In recent years, funding and grants for the student hostel have declined, placing the burden of expense on the students and their families. As a result, dozens of students have had to withdraw from their schooling, eliminating their chance at a brighter future. These villages have pooled resources to muster scant funding for 16 students, each of them selected by their village based on their academic prospects.

“These villages have been put in a position where they’re deciding which kids get the best chance at a bright future and which don’t, and even those students who get to attend don’t have enough support,” said Brandon Sosa, CEO of the Barzilai Foundation. “Just recently, the hostel was dealing with food shortages for these students. This is a hard situation that seemed to be only getting worse.”

To support the students in Bab Berred, the Barzilai Foundation has established bursaries that support these 16 students as they complete their education. This removes the burden from the students’ villages, who were pooling what money they had to provide financial support. To put this plan into action, the Barzilai Foundation partnered with RifCom, a Gibraltar based charity that focuses on creating opportunities and providing support to vulnerable communities in the Rif Mountains of Morocco.

Discussing Student Needs with Hostel Management

The Barzilai Foundation designed the bursary to cover basic costs that accompany education: school supplies, clothes, and basic living necessities during the students’ time at school. We will also be sponsoring some educational necessities, such as the installation of internet at the hostel, which is required so these students can complete their assignments.

In addition, as students from this cohort of 16 graduate, the program will partner with the villages and local schools to fill that vacancy with a new student who shows promise but faces the same financial barriers to continuing and completing their education.

“Once these barriers are out of their way, these students can stay in school, advance in their education, and secure a stable financial future for themselves and their families,” added Sosa. “For things like food, clothing, and supplies like paper and pencils to be obstacles to your education… these aren’t the kind of things that should determine someone’s chance at a good future.”

“This bursary program is a great opportunity to expand the help and support we bring to students in the Rif area,” said Mari Bell-Jones a co-founder of RifCom. “A proven path to break the cycle of poverty is via structured education and providing access to these 16 students to secondary education, is a valuable gift to the area. We look forward to many more collaborations with the Barzilai Foundation and coming together to make a bigger impact on students and people in need.”

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