Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A place for kids

Kids need places to go outside the home to grow, expand their horizons, and be exposed to new things. In Morocco one of those places is called a dar chebab.

Literally translated into English as house youth, it is a place where youth associations can meet and new friendships can be formed.

In Morocco’s larger cities there is a wide range of things for today‘s youth to be involved with, but in smaller towns and villages the choices are much fewer.

Youth centers can be a place for meeting, learning, or fun. As a youth development volunteer a goal at my youth center is to make it a place for all of those things. To utilize it’s full potential in order to find the full potential of the kids that come.

I can easily see the difference between the youth that come to the center and those who I meet on the street that do not. My most loyal followers are ones that I know have good character because I know they have the opportunity to spend their time doing less positive things and they don’t.

Some youth centers can be very basic. Just concrete walls and a door. Maybe some tables and chairs, but not much more.

But in the attempt to give youth more resources, training, and activities the Ministry of Youth and Sports will build 500 new youth centers in the next two years.

It will add to the already more than 400 youth centers in Morocco.

Sarah Hollemans, a fellow youth development volunteer, already has one of these new centers in her town.

She said there is space for yoga and karate, clean bathroom facilities, administrative offices, and new sports equipment.

She agrees that these new centers can offer constructive activities for youth.

The problem she does see with the new youth centers is the cost. She has a new style youth center as well as an old style one in her town. She said  the older one has more membership because it is not nearly as expensive.

Hollemans said that the upfront cost of the new youth center’s membership is 200 dirhams and than an additional 25-50 dirham monthly fee.

Older youth centers only charge 10 dirhams per year if anything at all.

With such a high amount of Morocco’s population being youth, it is truly in the best interest of it’s leaders to create good opportunities for those who will follow in their footsteps.

Having spent so much time with the youth of Morocco I am confident that as this generation ages this country will be propelled further into the modern world and become more and more successful.