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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book Launch – CATACOMB – ‘Educate a girl…’

In my ‘Acknowledgements’ for Catacomb I’ve written: ‘My appreciation and thanks to Derek Workman, especially for his insights into Morocco and its people. He actively supports Education For All, a charity that helps girls from the poorest families in the most remote villages of the High Atlas to continue their education…’  I hasten to add that any errors surviving in the book are mine alone…

Derek lived in Spain (where my wife and I currently abide) for many years but he has recently moved to Asia and regularly posts photos of his new home on FaceBook. He still writes travel articles and books. At the end of Catacomb my publisher Crooked Cat Publishing has generously inserted the following:

Education For All

Educate a boy and you educate the man;
educate a girl and you educate a family,
a community, a nation.

To most of us, access to an education beyond primary school never even enters into our consideration; it is simply there, almost by divine right. But what if it wasn’t? And almost worse still, what if it is on offer but you can’t get to it because you live too far from the nearest school or your family is too poor to pay even the basic accommodation costs?

Education For All is a Moroccan-based charity that builds boarding houses so that girls from the poorest families in the most remote villages of the High Atlas Mountains can continue their secondary education. Begun in 2007 the idea was that Education For All would provide for the needs of a number girls for the three years it would take them to complete their secondary education. An apparently modest undertaking, but one that would affect the lives of an initial group of twelve, increasing by the same number each year, in ways that couldn’t have been imagined at the time.

Eight years later and with five houses and over 180 girls to support, Education For All has given girls whose only option in life would have been to stay in their remote village the opportunity to excel beyond their wildest hopes and dreams. EFA has more than proven itself as an organisation capable of improving the lives of those under its care.

  • 80% of the girls who arrived at the EFA boarding house in Asni passed their exams to take them on to study at the lycée.
  • Of the ten young girls who began their education in 2007, seven went on to pass their baccalaureate, and five of those went on to university.
  • 93% exam pass mark in 2014 (almost twice the national average) shows that the organisation is working well and gives confidence to sponsors.
  • Administration takes no fee. All income other than bank charges goes to pay the wages of the house mothers and staff, and the running costs for each house.
Education For All’s premise is that an educated girl can make better decisions for herself and her family, and participate fully and equally in society. Being at an EFA boarding house is, for most girls in the region, the only way they will be able to achieve this. We see how the girls instantly flourish in their houses and achieve great results due to the nutritious meals, warm beds, plentiful learning resources and love and care from staff and volunteers.

It costs 1,000€ per girl per year to ensure the continued development of these otherwise marginalised young girls who would spend the remainder of their life in a remote village with little contact with the outside world and no education. You can download A Different Life – The Story of Education for All at To find out how you can contribute contact Sonia Omar at

This heart-warming enterprise flies in the face of many Western misconceptions or perceptions regarding Morocco, and it is to be applauded and hopefully supported.
CATACOMB - Universal purchase link here:

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