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 the ideas of Piaget, Freinet, Steiner, Montessori and Wild – 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 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


13 thoughts on “Our big Project – an intercultural dialogue

  1. Liebe Itto,
    das ist eine wirklich schöne und grosse Aufgabe, die du (die dich/euch?) gefunden ha(s)t! Es interessiert mich sehr, wie das Projekt sich entwickelt und bin dankbar, dass du weiter darüber berichten wirst.
    Ich hatte vor vielen Jahren einmal eine solche Vision für ein Dorf in Indien – leider hat es sich aus familiären Gründen zerschlagen. Aus deinem Bericht schliesse ich, dass die Planung für eure Schule schon relativ weit fortgeschritten ist (so weit waren wir gar nie gekommen), und ich wünsche euch sehr, dass ihr euer Ziel erreicht!
    Herzliche Grüsse,

  2. Liebe Itto,

    eine wunderbare Idee!!! We would love to know more and maybe our children and community here could ‘give back’ to your school. You can e-mail me and share your thoughts on what materials etc. would be needed!

  3. Ma chère Itto,

    Je suis ravie de voir un tel projet se monter dans la Vallée…Nous avons nous même une petite école dans notre petit village de montagne qui compte une dizaine d’élève par classe…Depuis pas mal de temps je m’intéresse à un projet en Ardèche dont voici le lien http://www.la-ferme-des-enfants.com, je pense que c’est assez proche de ce que tu aimerai faire dans ta Vallée…

    Je te souhaite une belle journée…



  4. Itto, I am so excited for you! I’m proud of you too! 🙂

    God bless your efforts and the new school. I am confident that you will make a profound and peaceful difference in many lives.

  5. salam alaikum,

    masha’allah…..may Allah grant you ease and success in this ambitious project. It is a wonderful thing to put back into the community that often give soo much to welcoming us foreignors

  6. I only had time to skim your post, I’ll have to read it closer later. But I wanted to say that I would be praying for your school. Homeschooling is often a good option but it’s my opinion that the right kind of school experience is wonderful. Unfortunately so many of our children don’t have a good/peaceful school to go to. Best wishes!

  7. Masya’allah, you are an inspiration. I hope you can tell us more about how you do it. My family is also embarking on a project for the muslim village in cambodia. We are doing a small reading programme insya’allah. It is not as great as yours but alhamdulillah:)

  8. Allah yatik alafia. I pray your project is accepted by the Moroccan government and is allowed to grow and prosper. There is a such need for quality education which instills a love of education and learning in children. I am so disappointed by the Jordanian/Syrian (and no doubt most other Arab systems) which instill fear and hate of knowledge in students. Alhamdulillah we have benefited from learning Quran and Arabic in Jordan but we are planning to return to the US so that we can return to the homeschooling system we left there–a place to love learning. InshAllah you will be successful with your project. Allah knows best.

  9. I wish you all the best, sister, Hopeland in Algiers is planning something similar at the Moment, May Allah make it easy for you both

    Umm Khadidja

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  12. I would love to know the name of the school in switzerland ?? your doing an amazing job and its something that i think would be incredible in tangier in morocco especially for the street children , who have no chance of a education.

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