How it all began – Our big Project – an intercultural dialogue


pictures taken by our Swiss partners on a visit in our valley 

Over the last years we thought a lot about our kid’s education and about the school situation in our little valley, where many kids suffer from the poor circumstances and the harsh reality of the public system.
A few years ago I felt in love then with the idea of homeschooling/unschooling my kids. I liked the idea that my kids can grow and learn in their own rhythm, that every moment and the whole world would be their classroom, without pressure and without all the negative realities of ordinary schools.
I knew I would have the capacity to be their facilitator and partner on their home-education-journey because I am blessed myself with a well-educated background and had the chance to finish high school and even university, alhamdulillah – something which is very unusual here in the High Atlas Mountains where many people are still illiterate and where most of the kids visit school for only 6 years.

But Allah had bigger plans for us when we met in 2007 those lovely people from a private school in Switzerland. They were a group of school-kids and their teachers whom we guided on a field trip through Morocco. They came from a little school that is a universe of peace and respect, a school with its own rhythm and proper pedagogic way, based on ideas of Piaget, Freinet, Steiner, Montessori and Wild, but all eclectic – It is a school that allows the child to grow on its own pace to become the person he already is deep inside himself.

When we met these teachers and kids we were immediately impressed by their respectful manners and peaceful personalities. They were so full of positive curiosity towards the world, subhanallah. It was a blessed time we spent together and finally a friendship grew between us and the idea to build such a special school here in Morocco.

We stayed in contact, collected ideas, wrote long mails, met several times in Switzerland and again in Morocco, we did research together, met locals and built up, little by little, a cooperation and a partnership between us.
The Swiss-kids were so motivated to collect already some money for the first steps of our project and everybody contributed with a lot of joy, effort and knowledge. The last year we did a lot of organisation and put together all the needed papers and documents for the application here in Morocco and we are now waiting for a definitive positive response from the government to start our school this autumn, inchaallah.

Three years ago I would never have imagined that our meeting would lead us so far, mashaallah. And until now I am still unschooling my kids. It seems sometimes very surreal to me that life leads us into such a direction together as a family.
But alhamdulillah, we have the chance, the knowledge and the contacts to establish such a big project.

I see myself as an ambassador between the two cultures and religions I am living in and it was clear to me that I have to engage in such a peaceful dialogue that enriches both sides. I think it is our duty to do something that allows a lot of kids here in that rural area to grow in a healthy atmosphere that respects their traditions, their background and faith and to meet in an environment that encourages the joy of learning and the love of seeking knowledge.

So here we are.
Our visit in Switzerland last January was not only to push organisation-things forward, but also to create a foundation-network and to look for the financing.
We want to build up a little private school for about 30 kids and a huge public free-time-offer for everybody with workshops, arts and language classes, sports club, a library, etc.
Our aim is to reach as much as kids as possible to give them the chance to grow.
But since most of the people here are very short on money or even poor and will not be able to pay a lot, we will need your prayers and help to realize and to maintain the project.

We are looking for financial support, for sponsorship and material help (even the smallest donation will help). And we are looking as well for a young and motivated Moroccan-Berber-speaking-teacher who wants to join our team.

If you are interested to support our school-project or if you know someone who could help us, please leave a comment or contact me at  itto.berber@gmail. com
Thanks so much! I am looking forward to hear from you and will keep you informed here about the project from time to time, inchaalah.   
pictures taken by us on our visit in Switzerland