A return to Morocco
Our Development Manager, Steven is passionate about charity work, championing local causes for Sector to support, volunteering to serve Christmas dinner to vulnerable people and teaching English in schools in Morocco.
In 2017, Steven spent six months teaching English in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, as he explains: “I had an amazing time and learned so much – it really changed my perspective on a lot of things. I was also lucky enough to meet some incredible people.
“I was truly inspired. The experience led me to going to Strasbourg and achieving my CELTA qualification (recognised accreditation in teaching English as a foreign language) – I have a passion for learning and this gives me a great opportunity to teach.”
Steven spent time in two schools in Salé, just outside of Rabat; one is a school with students aged from 6 to 16 and the other a setting for children who have fallen out of the school system. He also worked with sub-Saharan refugees, teaching English
On Saturday April 27th, Steven is returning to Morocco to work with those same two schools.
“Lots of people volunteer for short periods and I absolutely admire that. But when I visited Morocco I wanted to really get involved in the place, projects and culture. I met volunteers from Panama, Japan, France, Norway and America which gave me a great insight into what was happening outside of the UK. This extended stay was exactly what I wanted. It wasn’t long before I stopped being approached by the locals as a “tourist”, it became a very natural way of life.
“That’s why it’s really important that I go back. I made a commitment to return and carry on helping. I’ve stayed in touch with the Projects Abroad team who are now friends, I ring my host family, the teachers and where possible the students regularly. I didn’t want it to feel like a volunteer holiday – it wasn’t and that’s why I’ve missed it. One of the key decisions to work with Jamie at Sector is that we agreed from the outset that this is important to me. Both he and Sector have supported me in going back.”
Soufiane Mbarki from Projects Abroad said: “Steven settled in very quickly and was keen to get the most out of volunteering. We had some great feedback from the schools and it’s wonderful that he is coming back to Morocco.”
Steven added: “I’ll waste no time in getting involved in the lessons. The English teachers are Arabic-speaking so they appreciate me helping by leading a class or holding one-on-one sessions with students. My second week will be more sports-based, focused on engagement with children who need a different type of support. I’ll also be catching up with friends, taking in the culture and of course enjoying cous cous!”
On his last trip, Steven stayed with a host family in the Medina who are welcoming him back.
“They looked after me so well and really made me feel at home. I can’t wait to see the two children, Jannat and Jad; we played games in the evening, they taught me Arabic and I helped them with their English.”
Steven will be taking supplies with him for the schools, something which is in high demand. As with many industries, it is commonplace for merchandise to be given away at exhibitions and networking events, something that inspired him to reach out for support from a business that Sector works with closely.
“While attending a recent insurance conference, companies were spending a fortune giving away useless gifts to predominantly middle-aged overweight men (i.e. me!). I knew that this money could be much better spent supporting a worthy cause, so I contacted Hiscox who kindly sent me pens to take on my trip. Instead of lingering forgotten in the back of a desk drawer, these pens will support the children in their learning. It’s a small thing but it makes so much difference.”
We’ll keep you updated with Steven’s adventures while he’s in Morocco, but it’s safe to say that we are proud of him and his commitment to his voluntary work. Bon voyage!