Souks du Monde Teams up with NGO Wings of Hope Marrakech
I started Souks du Monde after having worked as a public high school teacher in New York City for eight years. During summer vacations, I have been to some incredible places and seen a small portion of what this world has to offer. It was in visiting markets and artisan studios around all corners of the globe that my interest was piqued in spreading accessibility to their treasures. When I decided to quit teaching and partake on this new venture, I resolved to do so only if I could find a way to continue to give back in a meaningful way. I believe Souks du Monde will do that thanks to our newest partnership with the NGO Wings of Hope Marrakech.
In my first trip to Morocco with my husband Benoit, we took a day trip into the Atlas Mountains for a hike in the Ouzoud Waterfalls. We were prepared with a packed picnic lunch, our hiking boots, and bottles of water. As we were driving back to our hotel in Marrakech at the end of the day, a young girl at the side of the mountain road signaled to us that she was thirsty. Behind her was the herd of sheep she was tending. Our driver pulled over and handed over his half-full bottle of water, and we also gave over the rest of the water that we had.
As we drove away, our driver explained the dynamics of many of the Berber tribes of the Atlas Mountains. It is quite normal that the children are in charge of herding the animals to water and fresh pastures during the day, while their parents work, take care of the home, and even weave rugs and make other goods that they can later sell or barter. This young shepherd likely leaves home in the morning with her day’s supply of food and provisions and relies on the kindness of strangers throughout the day before returning to her home in the evening. This reality is all too common in many of the rural areas of Morocco.
Morocco is a land rich in cultural heritage where artisan traditions have been passed down from generation to generation creating a myriad of incredible crafts recognized around the world. In fact, many of the artisanal crafts Morocco is so famous for are handmade in the rural areas like that of the young shepherd we met. Nevertheless, drought, chronic unemployment, high dropout rates for women especially, and an inaccessibility to food and water overburden the country, particularly in rural areas. The NGO Wings of Hope Marrakech is one of the local community-based groups that cultivates community-driven programs that promote economic viability to these villages.
Started by a group of young activists in the city of Marrakech, Wings of Hope Marrakech organizes service projects to people in marginalized areas within their community, as well as in some of the nearby Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains. Wings of Hope’s initiatives include organizing humanitarian aid in hard-to-reach mountain villages like the young shepherd's. Some of their projects have included setting up temporary medical clinics in rural areas and organizing collections and distributions of school supplies, clothes, food, blankets, and other essentials to these villages. The organization has a large following amongst young adults in Marrakech and continues to grow, as the work that they do is so appreciated in their community. Take a look at their Facebook page to see what they're up to.
Distributing food, water, and blankets in the village of Talmest
Distribution of food, water, and blankets in the village of Talmest
Blanket distribution at the primary school in Talmest
Celebrations with the school kids
After school program with village students
Through our collaboration with Wings of Hope, you have the chance to support their initiatives. With every purchase you make at Souks du Monde, you will have the option of rounding your total price up to the next dollar, and we will match every tax-free donation. The contributions will go straight to our NGO partner and the resources towards their initiatives, and you can continue to follow their Facebook page to see their activities. Many thanks for supporting our artisans' communities!