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Some thoughts from Rupert Meese

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The Marrakech State Orphanage

Posted by Rupert Meese on July 2, 2009

I’ve just volunteered to work in the Marrakesh state orphanage.  I’ll be going with a group called original volunteers, who seem helpful and well organized over the phone.  I’ve exchanged e-mails with some folk who’ve just got back and they had good things to  say so fingers crossed.  I’m going on the 21st of July and have the flight booked (about £160 each way with Easy Jet).
I hope to get immersed in teaching English and learning Arabic (along with Moroccan and Islamic culture).  Learning is something that I’m good at.  I don’t know about teaching, but I do know how to learn and if I can use that and pass it on in some way to some of the children then that will be great.  John Grinder – the co-inventor of NLP claims to be able to learn a new language to the point that a native speaker is comfortable conversing with him in 72 hours.  He talks about the importance of learning in a context where the words mean what they mean.  Often learning in a classroom all words mean the same thing – that is scratchy sound of blackboard, sitting still, trying to concentrate, fear of being called on, etc. etc.  I guess that working in a rich context is much easier with a small group.  I’m not sure I have any strategy for working with a large group of kids.

This is something of an inspiration in the way Gever Tulley talks about the need for kids to problem solve.

I don’t for one minute imagine the same resources are going to be available in the orphanage but the principles are probably still good.

On learning arabic I love this…

I’ve been singing it a lot.


8 Responses to “The Marrakech State Orphanage”

  1. Walter said

    Hi Rupert

    Fantastic idea volanteering sometimes we learn more than we teach on these trips good luck

    I look forward to hearing your experiances when you return


  2. Robert said

    Hi, Rupert.

    My daughter’s just gone to Ethiopia to do some charity work with children in an orphanage. She’s nearly seventeen, and has gone with a group from school. The school has an on-going relationship with the project (see http://www.ryton2ethiopia.org).

    You asked about games: How about setting up a rope that leads up and down steps, round obstacles, trees, thro water, etc. Do this without the kids knowledge. Inside is OK outside is better; outside in the dark is best. Put kids in pairs. Blindfold one. Have the sighted one lead them around the course, helping them, explaining obstacles, etc.

    Lotta fun, great for building trust (and talking about trust afterwards, if you can). It’s a great spectator sport, too!

    Have fun! 🙂


  3. Melanie said

    Hi Rupert
    you are a star! you will be wonderful with a group of children, let them teach you something, a song a dance or one of their games. Or making some instruments i.e papier mache maracas (Take some balloons!) Make glue with flour and water!
    Do a mini sports day, egg and spoon races (use balls if no eggs), three legged race, sack race, relay etc. Drawing is always wonderful too, are you taking anything with you? pens pencils etc. I would happily supply some if you would like!

    Have a great time, sharing your lovely self with these children!


  4. Tessa van Rossum said


    We are two students from Holland who searching for a Orphanage in Marrakech. Can you help us get in touch with this orphanage. We are photography students and we are going to graduate this year. This is our final project and we want to go to an orphanage and teach the students photography. I hope you can help us!

    • Hi Tessa,

      That sounds really interesting. The best approach, I think, would be to go there with original volunteers and teach photography as part of your placement. They seem very accommodating and are interested in the skills you can bring so I would have thought that would work out well and could be agreed before you left.

      Good Luck

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