Girls studying in the yard of the SOS Socail Center in Immouzer Kandar,…
I have been reading about the SOS Social Centre of Immouzer Kandar.
Girls studying in the yard of the SOS Socail Center in Immouzer Kandar, Morocco
I have been reading this report about the SOS Social Centre of Immouzer Kandar:
When you enter the SOS Social Centre of Immouzer Kandar you are welcomed by 32 smiling faces of the young girls waiting for your visit in the inner courtyard. These girls are all here to complete their studies.
The SOS Social Centre in the small rural city of Immouzer Kandar is 30 km from Fez and surrounded by mountains. The centre has been operating since September 2002 and includes a youth facility and a medical centre which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays to give the local population access to basic health care. Adjacent to the centre are two workshops which provide local women with the opportunity to learn sewing and machine knitting, a chance to generate income in their struggle against poverty and exclusion.
Although the neighbouring people were initially unwilling to accommodate our centre, they quickly abandoned their prejudice, and realised the seriousness and strictness under which the centre operates. This has helped with our success and we are currently building extensions and further building work is being previewed for next year.
A female teacher takes care of the girls and takes care until their high school diploma. 12 girls have left the centre with A-levels and went on to enter the workplace or continue their studies. Their bonds remain strong with the centre and they regularly return to visit the other girls here.
Nadia, a 17-year-old girl 'Like many of the other girls I am from a village called Ain Chiffa which isn't far from Immouzer Kandar. My parents were not able to educate me and I heard about this well organised centre for educating young girls from a rural background whose needs are taken into account. I have four younger sisters who would also like to attend. I arrived here in September 2003.
Her professional hope I am in a class of 8 and we are in the first year of our A-level studies. My favourite subjects are English and French. I like to translate! I am proud of being the person who tidied up the medical centre when it first opened. I like seeing people come to be taken care of. I would like to become a nurse and I am sure that experiencing this centre has played a part in my choice. I want to support poor people who become ill, to help other people.
A typical day We wake up at 04.30 and do the housework and pray. We have breakfast at 06.30 and then start studying. At noon we have a meal and then return to class. When there are no lessons we have support in French, English, Arabic, Mathematics and Physics. We finish school at 08.00. Our cooking is well organised as all the girls are separated into groups of five and each group prepares one dish per week. We do our homework and get to bed around 09.00.
The start of integration Every Sunday we go to the workshops to learn sewing and knitting. My favourite is embroidery. At the end of the year we will travel to Fez, Ifrane, Ifrou. We return to our families for the big holidays and religious festivals and sometimes my family comes to visit me here. We may have 'enterprise' training this year which will be the first time for me. We don't know the place yet, but I hope to do it in Marrakech InshAllah.'
Samira, an 18-year-old girl 'I am from Ain Chiffa, like many of my classmates, and was fifteen when I arrived here. I am a student of experimental A-levels. I have three brothers and four sisters.
A family atmosphere I really like this place! We have developed strong companionship and solidarity. We live here like sisters and are like a family at home. We are thirty-two altogether, nine girls are doing A-levels and fourteen are in the common core syllabus. We live together in our dormitory and we talk together and help each other. My favourite thing is also cooking as I like learning how to prepare new dishes and also to study.
Studies and summer training are the principal aims I came to the centre to study and have the opportunity to continue with hotel management as I would like to work in tourism. I like to meet new people and to learn new languages. I had some training in a hotel in Tangier last summer and I liked it very much and this encouraged me to work in this area!
If I get my Baccalaureate I will study at a catering school. There is a publicly-run school in Tangier and a private one in Fez. If I studied for two years in Fez and did well I might have the opportunity to continue in Tangier. I would prefer to study in Fez so that I would be close to my family and friends. My big hope is to get my A-levels and continue my studies!'
The centre's future and its residents The social centre will be extended next year: 2 dormitories, a first floor to extend the workshops, a library, a Moroccan living room and the kitchen will be expanded.
Two girls have success to the Baccalaureate, four have the second cession (on nine girls). They will follow post-Baccalaureate studies; their parents are agreeing with this opportunity! One girl finished her professional training in cooking and she has found work in Fez; eleven girls are following in the second year of the A-levels for September.
Street in downtown Yerevan, Armenia
Little children have specific wishes for their future professions. Some are quite real - they want to become a doctor, teacher, policeman or a fireman. Others are a somewhat bizarre - they want to become Thumbelina, Prince Charming, Batman or Spider-Man. The children then grow up and become copywriters, solution developers, quality assurance facilitators or systems administrators, for example. One Armenian girl decided to follow what she had dreamt of as a child.
Presenting... Nelly the magnificent Amazing animals, tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, clowns, fire breathers and acrobats... yes, the circus is coming to town! No one is looking forward to it more than 15-year-old Nelly from the SOS Youth Facility in Yerevan, who is going to become a circus artist.
At first glance, Nelly looks like a typical urban teenager who's got an obsession with hip hop music. She's anything but that. All her life, Nelly has been a true athlete. While living at SOS Children's Village Kotayk, she was the captain of the football, basketball and volleyball teams. "I can't imagine my life without sports," says the dark-eyed girl. "When we didn't have team practice [in the village], I'd just run around."
Moving to the youth facility in the capital meant a change to her life style. No longer having the vast space of the village, Nelly had to adapt her habits to a cramped city life. She joined the local volleyball team, began jogging around the neighbourhood and doing aerobics in her room. "Running in the city is far from being a pleasure, so I go jogging at dawn when there are almost no cars or exhaust fumes," says the sporty teenager.
Nelly is probably the quietest teenager in the youth facility. "A few days after Nelly came, she had her hair braided, like the hip hop stars," says her education supervisor. "We thought that she was trying to express herself and expected to hear Snoop Dogg's albums playing at full blast." It turned out, however, that her hair had constantly been getting in her face when she was playing sports, so Nelly got one of the girls who was training to be a hairdresser to braid her hair.
A tough choice made easy
When the time came to choose a vocational school, Nelly was troubled. "I always wanted to be part of a circus, but I thought 'OK, this is for real now. Do I really go ahead with it and go into the circus? Won't people laugh at me?'" It turned out Nelly was the only one who thought that way.
"I am happy that my [SOS] mother, the education supervisors and all my friends have supported me throughout", says Nelly. "They all knew how talented I was and how passionate I was about the circus, but I thought they just thought it was my hobby. I didn't realise that my [SOS] mum, my education supervisor or my brother would approve of me becoming a professional circus artist," says Nelly, smiling. "They gave me the strength to follow my dream."
So, in the autumn of 2006, Nelly enrolled at an institute in Yerevan which offers a three-year circus course.
Circling with the circus
With two years to go, Nelly still hasn't decided what she is going to specialise in. "In the first year we learned how to do everything from clown skills to how to perform on a trapeze. I can't say which of them is my favourite because I like them all. I do admit that I have to improve my juggling", says Nelly, picking up three tennis balls to demonstrate. She starts off well, but after one round, the balls fall. "Ah," she sighs. "It'll be a long summer."
In the hour or two when she's not working out or practicing juggling Nelly likes to watch the great circuses on TV. "I like Cirque du Soleil, Medrano, Krone, and the Ringling Brothers Circus. I don't have a favourite - each circus is so special and the artists are so talented that it's not easy to choose," says the girl who has a deep understanding for the hard work behind the perfect circus act.
In the future Nelly wants to join a major circus, but she won't be too disappointed if this doesn't happen. "I'll be happy if I can perform every night in front of a full house and every month in a new country. But, if I don't make it, I'll stay in Yerevan and teach circus arts or sports. As for the world, I guess I'll have to see it on my own," says our future acrobat, ending her story on a positive note.