This has made El Jadida a very popular tourist destination, both for foreign visitors and for Moroccans from elsewhere in the country. Besides tourism, the other main industries are focused on the nearby port and include; fishing and exporting chemicals to other countries.
Though the city is a popular tourist destination, it also has a number of unseen problems that continue to affect children. Chief among them is the worryingly high levels of child labour, particularly amongst young girls who work as domestic servants in many of the richer households.
Known as “petites bonnes” – little maids – these children work in gruelling conditions. They get no weekends off and are expected to work every day of the week, sometimes for up to 15 hours a day. These children suffer physical and emotional abuse, and without the chance to go to school they have few opportunities later in life.
Morocco has made some major leaps forward when it comes to the rights of women and children. For example, in 2004, changes to family law in the country meant that women now have the right to initiate a divorce and children born outside of marriage cannot be automatically disowned by their father.
Despite these positive steps, problems still remain. As discussed earlier many young girls, some estimates suggest up to 80,000, are still employed in conditions of domestic servitude, and literacy amongst women in the country remains much lower than amongst men. Combating these inequalities will be essential as the country progresses.
What is SOS Children doing in El Jadida?
We started working in El Jadida in 2006, Moroccan society is changing fast, but it is important that this progress benefits even the most marginal. SOS Children is, therefore, committed to ensuring that every child gets the opportunities they deserve.
A new home
The Children's Village in El Jadida offers a home to over 100 children who are unable to continue living with their biological families. Each family lives together under the care of an SOS mother, who support them as they grow and gives them every opportunity they need to succeed. The bonds they form within these families last a lifetime and are the basis of a healthy and happy future.
What makes SOS Children's Village El Jadida particularly special is its location at the heart of the city. This puts children at the centre of local society and allows them to start integrating from a very young age. They all attend the local nurseries and schools, and are able to continue their education outside of the classroom in the onsite computer room and library.
El Jadida is a place where many children face limited life chances simply because of their background. We are there to make those chances available to every child. Please help us by sponsoring a child.