Our world is both doubling and halving: The population has doubled since 1970, and the animal population has been halved since then. Obviously, that’s not a good ratio. But the good news is that you can help, even while traveling. If you are heading to Marrakesh, why not contribute some time, love, or some cash? There are many places in Marrakesh that would appreciate your support—from animal shelters and foundations, to social enterprises and community projects. Sure, you might be traveling for vacation, but volunteering for a few hours is always a booster, both morally and spiritually. Additionally, many groups would appreciate supplies or a donation. Or, you can choose a social enterprise to do business with—whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or shop that supports a cause or gives back. My very own inn, Peacock Pavilions, is Marrakesh’s Do Good hotel, donating 10 percent of its profits. Ethical travelers want their money to go to worthy places, so here are my five suggestions for ways you can give back when you come to Marrakesh:
Orphanage Ait Ourir
Starting as a small grassroots project in Marrakesh, this orphanage has now spread to five other locations in Morocco, thanks to dedicated volunteers and generous donors. The mission here is to provide children with a supportive environment while looking for loving homes for them. Help the organization with a monetary donation, or offer to volunteer your time while in the city.
Project Soar Marrakesh
This is the charity that I established two years ago to provide underprivileged Moroccan girls with art and sports activities on a weekly basis. The Project aims to reduce the number of child brides, and girls must stay in school to participate. Needs vary, so contact Project Soar to see how you can help.
Let’s not turn our back on our animal companions, either. SPANA is a non-profit charity devoted to the welfare of the country’s animals by educating the public to ensure compassion and ethical treatment of animals. They also provide medical treatment and adoption centers, all free of charge, and sustained through generous donations.
Fondation Helga Heidrich SOS Animaux
Monkeys, dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, and even a camel—all have been nursed back to health here. You can contribute by making a cash donation, but you can also come by and pitch in, spending time and caring for the animals, too. This is a great idea for families with children.
This is a social enterprise, embedded in a day care and professional training center for the handicapped. The hand-made embroidery created by the women artisans who work here is impressive—they use 100-percent natural fibers in their designs. You can support them by picking up a beautiful gift for yourself or someone you love back at home.