Aït Ourir

SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco).

Aït Ourir has a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants and is located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, around 40 km east of the city of Marrakesh. The nearby western coastal area of Morocco is the economic heart of the country. Agriculture is an important pillar of the economy in the region, with citruses, olives, tobacco and grains among its main products. Morocco continues to be a socially divided country, where certain classes of society are often discriminated against.

Since 1985, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Aït Ourir.

Increase in the high school dropout rate

School dropouts

Thousands of children between the ages of 7 and 17 are engaged in various forms of work in the informal economy. All children must attend school in Morocco, but it is common for girls, especially in low-income families, to be taken out of school at a young age in order to support their families at home. Secondary and tertiary school enrolment is also much lower for girls. From 2018 to 2020 there was a 9% increase in the rate of dropout and repetition at high schools and colleges. The environment in which children work can be dangerous and harsh, and some children also experience abuse in the workplace. Without training, many of these children will face great difficulties as adults.

Of children born in Morocco go unregistered

Rural migrants often struggle

Morocco was originally settled by Berber populations but is now predominantly Arab, although there are still Berber communities in rural areas. These farmers often lack access to education and live in poverty. Many of them therefore migrate to the larger cities such as Marrakesh in search of job opportunities. People from rural areas often do not hold professional qualifications and therefore find it hard to get formal jobs in the city. They often lack official documents for their children, such as birth certificates. Around 5% of children born in Morocco go unregistered. Children who are not registered at birth cannot access basic rights and services.

Your support makes a difference for children in Aït Ourir

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Young girls in our care practicing karate in the garden (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco).

How your support helps in Aït Ourir

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.