English Street School in Morocco: From an Old Street to a School

“Let’s learn English for free”, “Our street is our school”, “We need languages in our life”: These are the words of Mouhcine Camel, the founder of English Street class, when interviewed by IVolunteer.

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English street class ” Beach edition”

In Essaouira, an old port city in Morocco‘s Atlantic coast, known by tourism as the main commercial asset and probably the only source of money, Mouhcine Camel had the idea of teaching the people of the city English every week on the street for free to make it easier for them to communicate with tourists.

The beginning of English Street Class

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Teaching basic english for Moroccan children by one of the volunteers from Canada

After moving to Essaouira in 2016, Mohcine Camel started working with several associations, organizations and expats and understood the necessity of teaching English in this small town to children, commercials, and artisans.

On July, 18th 2017, Mouhcine Camel officially launched his first Street Class with an international young team, in which they started teaching English, Spanish, French and also Moroccan Darija to foreigners for free.

With More Volunteers Comes Big Impact

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Abdessamad, one of the Moroccan volunteers, teaching Moroccan Darija

However, with too many students and too few volunteers, it was hard for the English street class to keep up for quite some time. So, he worked on bringing more teachers, especially teachers in training, to work in the English Street Class. This would provide a win-win situation for everyone involved. All students are now assured free weekly English lessons.

Having more volunteers on the initiative changed everything. With many of them from around the globe, English Street Class has evolved to provide lessons not only in English but also in French, German, Spanish, and also Moroccan Darija

Volunteers keep the English Street Class alive

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A Canadian Volunteer teaching English basics to Moroccan children

In 2018, Mouhcine had to leave Essaouira for a job outside town, but the thrust did not stop leading to a bigger network of volunteers keeping English street class alive and growing.

The role of volunteers was huge for the initiative, not only in providing language lessons but also in making it bigger and more sustainable.

The small initiative with more volunteers becomes bigger

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“Eva” one of the volunteers from Germany teaching english

Now, the English street class is a big initiative, with more than 12 volunteer teachers who teach English to different levels, ages and professions, and with 2 Moroccan Darija volunteer teachers who teach foreigners the Moroccan language.

English Street Class is a great opportunity for the people of Essaouira to improve their teaching skills. The students of English Street Class improved their communication skills with the tourists in the city, which will help create more opportunities for them.

From teaching English to new activities, and a new English Street Class

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volunteer teachers and students painting Essaouira streets

The Street Class has become more than a teaching initiative. Teachers and students started volunteering in other activities like painting and cleaning the streets of the town.

To create more impact, spread language learning, and reach a larger community, the English street class started a new street school in a smaller town called Ounagha 30km far from Essaouira. The objective is to extend it more and more in the whole country. This initiative certainly sparked a sense of servant volunteerism for many, and will hopefully continue doing so in the future.

© All photos are taken by Mouhcine Camel with his permission and do not belong to the author of this article.

IVolunteer International is a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar. Operating from Savannah, Georgia, IVolunteer International connects volunteers to volunteer projects around the world. Since 2017, IVolunteer has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world. 

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