DELIVERY: Refuge for Street Children in Marrakesh, Morocco

Expedition Press Release

DeliverAid Expedition Provides Clothing, Toys And Educational Materials to Street Children In Africa

Reading, UK, Mar 10th, 2017 – Powered by a sponsorship syndicate of philanthropic businesses including Segura Ltd, DeliverAid provided much needed clothing, stationery, sports equipment, toys and computers to street children in Marrakesh.

The DeliverAid team (consisting of expedition leader Peter Cameron Burnett, photographer Vicki Yates, and transport/logistics manager Toby Vennard) visited children’s refuge Atfalouna, which provides assistance and ongoing development to children on the streets of Marrakesh. In addition to their shipment of supplies, (much of which was purchased from UK charities as part of DeliverAid’s unique “Double Benefit” approach), the team also provided training on how to use the provided Raspberry Pi computer equipment to create music, learn coding and also become proficient with Office-style applications.

Peter Cameron-Burnett said:

We are very grateful to our sponsors for making this possible and empowering us to help others. It’s great to be able to provide direct assistance to children who whilst short on advantages are rich in spirit and enthusiasm! 

Hassan el Badraoui, president of the Atfalouna Association, said:

“First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks on behalf of all the members and the beneficiaries of the association. I have the honor to extend my sincere thanks to you. We are touched and we thank you very much for this gesture that will give our children opportunities for access to computers and clothing. Our Association welcomes you.”

END

NOTES FOR EDITORS

DeliverAid was founded in January 2017 to provide sustainable and direct assistance to children who are at risk or face disadvantage in refuges, orphanages, and camps internationally. The team’s efforts are powered by a sponsorship syndicate of philanthropic businesses. The DeliverAid team itself consists of a small core of media and project professionals who are looking to do something worthwhile, who are ably aided by volunteers both in the UK and overseas. Wherever possible, the team purchases supplies from UK charities so that they also substantial benefit from the expeditions. As well as delivering supplies, the team also provides computer equipment and training as part of their Bootstrap Programme to allow the children to develop skills that will not only assist themselves in building a better life, but which will also create employment and opportunity within their community.   

For Further Information

Contact Vicki Yates (OutReach Officer) at team@deliveraid.org


Our “Behind The Scenes” Travelogue …

A delivery to the Atfalouna Children’s Refuge (Or, how the DeliverAid Team learned to stop worrying and love Marrakesh traffic)

Toby is at the wheel of our rented van, Saliha. The name means “useful” in Arabic, which is appropriate. What is not appropriate is the language Toby is using under his breath as he weaves through the blizzard of vehicles around us. He stamps on the anchors to narrowly avoid what looks like a rugby scrum of locals that has suddenly swung into our lane and is chugging along at about 18 miles an hour. There is a lot of smoke coming from the fullback, and I can only assume that somewhere under that mass of people is a motorbike.

Vicki, our team photographer, is snapping away, whilst I fumble with my mobile. I have our trusty MapsWithMe app open, and I’m trying to navigate Toby to our destination – a refuge for street children. On the map, it looks reasonably straight forward. Just a quick dash across town. Then Vicki leans over and glances at the phone in my hand, and smiles.

“Excellent, we’ll be going through the Medina. I can get some nice shots.”

“The Medina?” I frown. I’ve been to Marrakesh before, but it was some years ago, and the memory is hazy.

“The old town. It’s got some great windy alleys and places like that.”

I look closer at the map. Windy alleys?

It’s traditional in Marrakesh to take your palm tree for a drive in order to prevent the onset of ennui, which wilts the fronds.

“Which way, chap?” barks Toby. I look up to see a fork in the road ahead.

“Uhh … left.”

“Sure?”

I’m not really. The blue dot on the phone denoting our position is laggy, and it’s hard to work out sometimes if we are where it says we are, or where I think we are.

“Yep, 100%.”

I say it with resolution so that Toby doesn’t get nervous. As a driver, you need to believe that your navigator has the ball. Besides, if you are the guy reading the map, you can normally find a way to make good on any minor mis-directions, laying the blame for an unusually circuitous route at the door of faceless city planners.

This time I’ve got it right. The blue dot on the screen judders, and then suddenly hops 250 yards southwest. Good. We’re on the right road.

Or are we? It’s the straightest route, but now that I zoom in, I can see something that worries me.

Most of the city looks like the usual urban rough grid layout. Navigating round that is a bit like playing PacMan. Fairly simple. Problem is the map in the centre of the city also looks like something from a game … but it’s not PacMan.

In fact, what it most reminds me of is one of the maze games you get on a place mat in a kiddy friendly restaurant – the type of thing where Chippy The SuperHippo needs to find his way to Ice-Cream Island, can you help him with your crayons?

And this road is taking us straight into it.

Streets in the Medina of Marrakesh … if navigating, remember to throw a double six to start.

The traffic seems to have quietened down a bit, and looking up I realise that this is a one way street. There is nothing coming the other way, but that also means that turning round is not an option.  The side roads are either blocked off or dead ends.

I remember reading the book The Perfect Storm a few years before about the loss of the trawler Andrea Gail, which talked about the zero option disaster theory. As people head towards mishap, it said, they effectively head down a narrowing cone of options. In other words, the number of actions that they can take to avert that mishap start to diminish rapidly.

I suspect that we have just reached our zero option point.

Traffic is still flowing as fast and thick as before, but the street has become slightly narrower, so the throng of vehicles. I glance out of the open window. The guy on the moped next to us is incredibly close. I could reach out and touch him, except that I don’t really want to, and I doubt he would want that either.

“Uhhhhh …. mate?” Toby is slowing the van as we come to the entrance to the maze.

“All under control,” I smile.

Team mates Toby and Vicki. (NOTE: Toby is the one who is not a girl.)

As a rule, Toby is a great travelling companion. Sure, he has his little quirks. He squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube. He calls AA batteries mink minks. (AAA batteries are just AAA batteries to him, in case you are curious.) And sometimes he wakes up screaming at 3am and thrashing violently around him with a blunt machete. (No fun if you are sharing a tent. We’ve never figured out quite what he’s dreaming about.)

But by and large, we get along. I can sense that relationship being strained at the moment though.

The next hour or so is a blur of people, bikes, sharp turns and delicate reversing. We move about a mile in that time, and pick up a lot of local phrases that Google Translate gracefully declines to render into English, on the grounds that they are either biologically unlikely or in many cases physically impossible.

It is with much relief that we sight an actual road again. It’s a fairly standard street, but after our experience it feels like a 6 lane motorway, and we turn into it gladly and make our way to the destination.

Finally we arrive at our destination – time to unload!

Finding the place itself takes a bit of doing, its in the midst of a block of buildings, so we ask around. Eventually a very nice young lady in the local pharmacy actually walks us to the door. We thank her gratefully and knock.

The folks at Atfalouna are expecting us, and we get a warm welcome. We commandeer the classroom, and unload the delivery. The staff at the refuge look very pleased with what we have brought – they communicate that this should keep the children going for quite some time!

Hassan, the president of the refuge, makes a moving speech, and then it’s time for us to head off to the next location. We decide to take the long way round this time. Pretty as the town centre is – we’ll leave it till later on, and explore it the traditional way.

On foot.

— END

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