Mike McHugo, EFA Founder and Supporter
Mike first visited Morocco in 1973 and started running educational adventure holidays in Morocco in 1978 with a small company called Discover Ltd. In 1990 Discover Ltd. purchased the ruined Kasbah du Toubkal which opened its doors in 1995. The restoration and operation of the Kasbah was carried out by Mike’s friend and business partner from Imlil, Hajj Maurice. The team are committed to running the Kasbah in a sustainable way that gives benefits to the local community.
Cees van den Berg, EFA Committee
Cees runs Riad Azzar and the recently-renovated Riad Siwan with his wife Maryk. Before coming to Marrakech in January 2004, he was working as Finance Director for Pillsbury (Diageo). After the acquisition of Pillsbury by General Mills, Cees worked for General Mills as Finance Director and Controller Europe. During his work for Pillsbury and General Mills, he was asked to do two jobs for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one in Zambia and one in Ethiopia, enhancing local government in financial reporting, budgeting, and tax collection.
Maryk Stroosnijder, EFA Committee
Before coming to Marrakech from the Netherlands to run riads with her husband Cees, Maryk worked for five and a half years as project manager for the International Project Unit of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities on projects to strengthen local authorities, e.g. Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) in Palestine. She worked as a Human Resources Manager for two years before coming to Marrakech.
Aniko M. E. Boehler, EFA Committee
Anthropologist, film maker and curator creative and social entrepreneur. Based in Marrakech since 2002. She is an expert in the cultural and socio-institutional aspects of Sustainable Development, specialising in hands-on and participatory heritage and sustainable development programs with local populations and institutions as well as international organizations. A hands-on practitioner in the field of conservation/heritage. Aniko works with local communities on capacity building and on institutional reinforcement for community-based conservation/heritage, tourism and education projects. Working on the implementation of ethical and sustainable tourism development strategies. Actively involved in the civil society, Aniko recently joined the committee of Education For All.
Hajj Maurice (Omar Ait Bahmed), EFA Supporter
Known to almost everyone as simply “Hajj”, Omar runs the Kasbah du Toubkal and has been closely involved with the work of EFA from the start. Well-respected throughout the region, Hajj is more than a committed supporter. If anything needs doing, we know we can call Hajj and he will get it done.
Selouane Berrada, EFA Committee
A local Marrakchi and accountant. He is Gérant of the Travel Agency Mountain Voyage in Marrakech which was founded by Kasbah du Toubkal
Latifa Aliza, Dar Asni Housemother
Latifa comes from Moulay Brahim where she was brought up with four sisters and one brother. She attended collège in Marrakech and returned after graduation to take on the role of housemother at Dar Asni. This was a brand new experience for her and a huge challenge at the start. She works tirelessly to ensure that the girls are well-cared for, as well as checking their homework and ensuring that they study hard. The great love and respect the girls have for “Soeur Latifa” is evidence of this amazing 29-year-old’s abilities and commitment. Illaria, a volunteer from Bristol Grammar School (which has raised considerable funds for EFA since the beginning) took Latifa to England in 2010. Latifa has become lead house mother for Khadija and Mina, the house mothers at Tlat and Ouirgane.
Khadija Dar, Tinmal (Tlat) Housemother
Khadija lives in Dar Tinmel, she is a 36-year-old Moroccan woman from Aït Ourir. She began in February 2010 and she speaks Arabic, Berber, French and English (beginner).
Mina, Ouirgane Housemother
Mina is a 27 Moroccan woman from Moulay Brahim. She lives in Dar Ouirgane since the beginning and she speaks Arabic, Berber, English and French.
The organisation also has the support and thanks of the local Governor of the Province of Al Haouz, Monsieur Bouchaib El Moutaoukil. Read his letter (in PDF)
Why help educate girls?
It was very apparent to us all that educational opportunities particularly for girls from rural Morocco is an area that needed as much help as it could get. All of us have come from countries where we have been fortunate enough to take the life long gift of education almost for granted. Despite the Moroccan Government’s support of education policy and women’s rights, half of the country is not literate, and in rural areas, up to 83% of women are illiterate. An educated girl ends up educating her family. We may not be able to change the world but we can make a difference to a few lives and indirectly many more.