The land of mystery and contrasts
A melting pot of cultural diversity
The crossroad of continents
Bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Morocco is country bursting with vibrant colors and landscapes. Morocco is home to a wide range of peoples, histories, and traditions. Over time, the intersections of Amazighi (the indigenous Berbers), Arab, sub-Saharan, Jewish, and Andalusian people have shaped Morocco’s unique land and culture.
Arabic and Tamazight (the Berber language) are the country’s official languages. French is taught in primary schools and spoken in urban parts of the country. English is also becoming an attractive language to learn as more and more tourists and job opportunities come from the English-speaking world.
For centuries, Morocco operated as a monarchy under a series of dynasties. In 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate, with some territories also controlled by the Spanish. In 1956, Morocco gained its independence from European colonizers and, once again, became a monarchy, this time under Mohammad V. Today, Morocco is ruled by Mohammad V’s grandson, Mohammad VI, and is a parliamentary monarchy. While Mohammad VI holds the majority of the political power, he works with a parliament comprised of democratically elected representatives.
Despite having come a long way since independence, Morocco still struggles to provide its people with some basic services. The illiteracy rate is over 40% and, for several years, unemployment stagnated at 12%. Moreover, rural and urban Moroccan standards of living differ immensely, with many rural homes lacking safe living conditions and running water.
Thaqafat Association is a non-profit organization founded by young Moroccans in 2002. Its objective is to promote Moroccan culture and development by inviting volunteers from all over the world to participate in local volunteer projects and experience life in Morocco. Thaqafat Association cooperates with a number of NGOs, located mainly in Rabat and Salé. We offer volunteer projects that focus on children with disabilities, women’s rights, education, the environment, and health care. Thaqafat’s relationships with these NGOs allows us to match applicants’ interests and skills to those of a specific NGO project. Benefits of Volunteering
• Learn and develop new skills and interests
Do I Qualify?
Anyone 18 years and older may apply. Thaqafat volunteers must have completed high school. Participants must be committed to volunteer work and ready to learn about their host country’s traditions and customs. Thaqafat Association welcomes anybody with enthusiasm and a sense of teamwork to participate in our programs!
Volunteers can choose either a long-term program (2-3 months) or a short-term program (2 weeks-1 month).
Orientation is provided upon arrival in Rabat. Volunteers learn about Morocco’s culture as well as other important information regarding travel safety, medical issues, living conditions, and issues specific to their project. Volunteers also participate in sessions about cultural customs such as the hammam (the traditional public bath), traditional Moroccan cooking, and how to bargain like a Moroccan.
Intensive Language Course
If volunteers are interested in studying a Moroccan language, volunteers can elect to study Modern Standard Arabic (Fus’ha), Moroccan Arabic (Darija), or Berber (Tamazight) through our partner the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL). The objective of the language courses is to provide volunteers with fundamental communication skills and enable them to hold conversations with their host families, NGO colleagues and staff and the beneficiaries. By promoting these relationships, Thaqafat encourages volunteers to learn about Morocco’s rich diversity and, in the process, develop approaches to understanding and appreciating cultural differences. Languages classes are not required for volunteers and are simply an optional, additional program component.
Thaqafat can arrange for a volunteer to participate in a homestay with a Moroccan family. Thaqafat highly encourages volunteers to stay with a Moroccan family so that they might enjoy authentic Moroccan culture first-hand. Participating in a homestay affords volunteers the opportunity to improve their communication skills, participate in cross-cultural conversations and exchanges, and experience Moroccan culture through meals, parties, and special events. Homestay fees are included in the overall program fees received by Thaqafat. If volunteers choose to stay in an apartment or a hotel room for the duration of their stay, volunteers handle and pay for these arrangements separately from Thaqafat.
If a volunteer chooses the homestay option, s/he will share a room with a family member of the same sex; single rooms are not available. Some homestay homes may not have access to hot water or showers. Instead, public baths are available and widely used by Moroccans in both cities and villages. Toilets may be either Western-style or Turkish style. For more information, please contact our Thaqafat staff.
What is included in Thaqafat program fees?
Program fees depend on the nature and length of a volunteer’s program. For more information, please contact us.
• Pre-departure information via e-mails.
• Language classes, including class materials, orientation, and extra-curricular activities. (For two months)
• Placement and accompanied visit to community service project site.
• Ongoing support by local volunteer coordinator.
• Transportation to and from NGO – on first and last day of project – as well as within the site.
• Homestay (room and half board: breakfast and dinner only if the Homestay option is chosen).
What is not included?
• Medical and accident insurance and expenses.
• Travel to and from Morocco.
• Airport transportation upon arrival and departure.
• Personal expenses.
• Lunches throughout the program
Requirements from Volunteers
• Completed and signed Thaqafat Application
• Evidence of medical and accident insurance
• Written commitment guaranteeing completion of the volunteer program
Please signed and fax the documents mentioned above at least 4 weeks prior to arrival.
Note: Please do not purchase your tickets before receiving a written acceptance confirmation from Thaqafat. Volunteers will only be admitted if all of the above is completed and sent prior to arrival.
An initial deposit of 20% of the total program fee is required with the application. It is non-refundable upon notification of acceptance and is applied to the total program fee. The balance of the program fee is required 30 days prior to departure. Thaqafat Association has the right to refuse to receive a volunteer if fees are not received on-time. If a volunteer is not accepted, their deposit fee is reimbursed.
• If volunteers cancel their programs after acceptance and prior to placement confirmation, then they forfeit their initial deposit
• If volunteers cancel after confirmation of placement, they forfeit 50% of program fee paid
• If volunteers do not arrive to their program or depart early, no program fees will be refunded
We thank you in advance for respecting these policies and deadlines.