The third largest city in Morocco, Marrakech has an enviable location situated between the Sahara desert and the Atlas Mountains. This contrasting landscape, combined with a city that perfectly fuses old and new, means there is always something to do. After a hard week of work on your volunteer project of choice spend your weekends bargaining in the souks before soaking your weary feet in a Hammam, working your way through the mouth-watering local cuisine, or, if you are feeling more energetic, how about climbing the highest mountain in North Africa? Experience the vibrancy of Morocco by volunteering abroad in Marrakech.
Ways to Volunteer in Marrakech
There are a large number of NGOs and local community projects working to develop programs and projects to support and make lasting change for the local community.
Popular projects in Marrakech. There are a wide range of volunteer projects in Marrakech, with key volunteering opportunities including language teaching, volunteering in orphanages and, media and communications.
The tourism sector is an important economic income for the country and as a result there is a huge demand for language teachers to help provide disadvantage youths with a skill that will enable them to work within the tourism sector.
Due to strict laws prohibiting children being born out of wedlock, there is a large number of orphans and street children in Morocco. Therefore, there are many placements available within the educational and medical sectors.
For those with a background in journalism or communications, there are grassroots organizations working to increase the news sources available in Morocco and increase awareness in the world of issues within the country. Morocco has a developing activism sector; in particular, focusing on female empowerment and human rights. Consequently, there are many NGOs looking for assistance.
Short term volunteer programs in Marrakech. These provide an introduction to the country and its culture and there are a range of short-term programs designed for English-only speaking participants where you will be given the support to pick up or improve your French during your placement. Alongside your volunteering program there are opportunities to do a homestay where you will experience authentic Moroccan food and a chance to see Moroccan home (basic French skills are advised for communication with the family). Many of the programs also offer travel options during the placement or after, allowing you to see some of the wonders of Morocco from deserts, waterfalls, and beaches.
Long term volunteer projects in Marrakech. A longer duration gives you more opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Morocco and its rich cultural heritage.In addition, there are more placements on offer in areas such as educations, medical internships and, conservation placements. Certain placements will require a minimum level of French and/or Arabic. These placements are also a perfect opportunity to develop your language skills.
Life in Marrakech for Volunteers
Marrakech is a perfect juxtaposition of old and new and both sides of this city need exploring! With museums highlighting up and coming photographers and artists, experimental restaurants, and music festivals there is more than just history in Marrakech. Though don’t forgot to still take time to enjoy some of the many history and cultural monuments in Marrakech, such as the Medina and Saadian Tombs.
Marrakech’s photogenic streets are perfect for wandering and getting lost before enjoying one of the many rich and tasty Moroccan dishes such as tagine or harira washed down with a cup of mint tea. Marrakech provides the perfect location to explore more of the varied Moroccan landscape.
When you have some time off from your volunteering project, day trips around Marrakech are easy to organize and there is a wide range of choice. Consider heading to Ouarzazate, a film location for Gladiator and Game of Thrones, or to Ouzoud waterfalls or to UNESCO site Ait Ben Haddou where you will feel like you setting foot on a film set. While volunteers with more time off can take weekend trips to meet the nomadic communities in the Sahara desert and traverse the Atlas mountains.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Islam is the majority religion in Morocco. Therefore, there may be some cultural conflicts during your stay. Ensure your outfits are conservative and will not cause offence for instance, jeans and loose top or a long skirt -remember to wear nothing too tight. It is not compulsory for women to wear a hijab. Also, be aware of how you interact with members of the opposite sex within and outside of your placement —be considerate and keep physical contact to a minimum unless directed that it is appropriate. Enjoy the impact Islam has had on Morocco, from it’s food to the holidays and the architecture.
Be wary of scams. Examples include that free tour that involves you buying overpriced goods, any hidden fees in restaurants for things such as the “free” bread, or last-minute changes to prices for activities like camel riding or henna drawing. Research online in advance to ensure your experience of Morocco is not ruined.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity. Make sure you spend loads of time in the local Hammams, where you can relax and scrub away any stresses. This is the perfect location to interact with locals and learn about the Moroccan culture.
Marrakech’s combination of old and new makes it an exciting place to live and learn about Moroccan culture.
Feeling inspired to traverse the winding streets of the Medina before sipping on khoudenjal tea then read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Morocco.