Preschool, recognized as a fundamental step in the physical, cognitive and emotional development of a child, is unfortunately considered a luxury in many developing countries.
At the Althea foundation, we are making pre-school education a priority because typically, the children who benefit from it stay longer in the education system and have better chance of success in school. Preschool prevents children from becoming a source of labor for their families, as it is often the case in Morocco, in economically and culturally disadvantaged backgrounds. Since 2008, Althea committed to promote and develop a quality preschool education through our third intervention section: “Education for all”.
Therefore, the Althea foundation decided in September 2008 to support early childhood education in Morocco and to pay particular attention to girls, whose enrollment rate is much lower than boys. Althea opened its first pre-school in the village of Talsint, in the province of Figuig, Oriental region, in collaboration with two NGOs: Alpatlas (Switzerland) and Al-Anquae (Morocco) (see the details of the project [in French]). A second preschool school has been open since 2009, in the town of Gourama. Its inauguration was attended by Nehza and Aziz Drissi, the former Swiss ambassador to Morocco, local elected officials and members of the Lions Club of Lons le Saunier, who provided financial support. The property includes three sections leading to the PC, and hosts sixty children.
To develop its action “Education for All” on the field, the Althea Foundation signed in April 2008 a partnership agreement with Alanquae, an association based in Khénifra which is active in the field of access to education. The recruitment and training of teachers have been provided by the Alanquae association. The training of teachers has also been complemented by educators of the preschool L’île aux Trésors, a renowned preschool group based in Casablanca that Althea partnered with to provide pedagogy. In the first year, kindergarten Foundation hosted 80 children.
These two preschool experiments are a success. The Althea Foundation therefore aims to multiply and to export that model to other regions of Morocco or to other countries, to allow a greater number of disadvantaged children access to education, development and enlightenment at the youngest age.
Pre-school: A chance of early detection of eye disorders
Preschools, in addition to enhancing the vitality of children and their preparation for primary school, have a second purpose: it allows the children of 3-6 years to benefit from eye care by carrying out systematic screening of refractive errors and eye diseases such as amblyopia (which best healing results are related to early detection). Children welcomed by Althea schools as well as many others, have benefited from the optical campaign in October 2008. Two serious diseases were detected and treated in time.
Education for all: a challenge in Democratic Republic of Congo
The 2008/2009 school year marked the start of the “Education for All” section at the Althea Foundation, not only in Morocco but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Indeed, since 2008 the Althea Foundation provides support to Integrated Education and Training Centre (CEFI) for the education of deaf and blind children with disabilities in the territory of Uvira, South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support of the Foundation is given through the financing of salaries of several teachers working in the Centre. The CEFI, founded in September 1993 by the Pastor Matthew Kisose Kasha, aims to “enable children, youth and adults in particular, and to the human being in general, to create jobs through education and training as well as knowing their rights and duties to live in peace and non-violence.”
Due to a lack of funds, we won’t be able to support the CEFI in 2015, but we hope to give them back our help as soon as possible.