A Garden for the Children

The 'Dar al Atfal' children's home at Sidi Bernoussi in Casablanca welcomes about 300 children aged between 6 and 18 years old.  Most of them have been abandoned, orphaned, or are from families in great difficulty or broken homes.

These children need activities which will enrich their daily lives and help them discover new ideas, through activities which are extracurricular, manual, fun and educational.

I have been interested in agroecology and horticulture since 2011.  I wanted to develop this field in Morocco as I was convinced that agroecology could provide an answer to social and environmental challenges.

As I volunteered in the children's home, I wanted to give the children a chance to experience a vegetable garden.  In order to get started to find out how the children would react, we started with a small piece of land.  The result: the children adored it!

Workshops were organised for Saturday afternoons.  At the beginning of the project, an expert came to talk to the children about the principles of agroecology.  We started with planting various seasonal vegetables and flowers, either as seeds in pots or sowing directly into the ground, and the group of young children looked after the garden.  And finally the time came to harvest the vegetables and flowers.

Thanks to the help of donors, the children's centre at Sidi Bernoussi was able to buy some gardening materials, organic compost, the first plants and seeds, and to pay the facilitator.

The project had a significant social and environmental impact.  The harvesting of the vegetables and flowers gave the children a real feeling of confidence and pride. Little by little, the children understood the importance of respecting the environment and made a bond with the earth.

Marine P, Dar al Atfal Children's Home,