Thursday, March 23, 2017

Moroccan Photo of the Day ~ Dick Hooper

A wonderful action shot by Dick Hooper of Sadek El-Bahjaoui training a horse (named Chenel) at the American Fondouk in Fez.

The Fondouk is a charity that provides valuable veterinary assistance for the working horses, mules and donkeys of the Fez Medina as well as advice for their owners. It has been doing great work since it was founded in 1927. Read more about the Fondouk here - American Fondouk

See more in our series Photo of the Day 

The View from Fez welcomes contributions to our Photo of the Day Series


Writers Assist the Medina Children's Library

This week the Medina Children's Library received a generous donation from the participants in this year's Deep Travel Writing Workshop

The View from Fez headquarters at Riad Zany was the venue for the fundraising dinner on Wednesday night. Among the 25 guests were Deep Travel organisers, Christina Ammon and Anna Elkins, photographer, Omar Chennafi, and renowned travel writer, Tim Cahill.

The evening included readings from writers represented in a new anthology, Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco, edited by Erin Byrne. Erin was unable to attend this years workshops but was present as a cardboard cut out of her face!

Suzanna Clarke, Christina Ammon, ( rin Byrne), Tim Cahill, Sandy McCutcheon, Anna Elkins

The feast, cooked up by Rachida El Jokh and her mother, included salads, lamb with apricots, chicken with preserved lemon and a kiwifruit, mint and strawberry yogurt dessert - delicious.

The money raised goes towards supporting the Medina Children's Library, which provides a child-friendly space with hundreds of books, storytelling and art workshops and receives a thousand visits from Medina children every month.

Our thanks to organiser and chef, Rachida El Jokh


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Moroccan Photo of the Day ~ A Box of Cats

Walking the Fez Medina this morning, photographer Suzanna Clarke came across what she described as "pre-packaged cats"

See more in our series Photo of the Day 

The View from Fez welcomes contributions to our Photo of the Day Series


Morocco's Push For English Gains Ground

On March 17, the Ministry of Handicrafts, Social Economy and Solidarity launched an English training program for trainees or graduates from handicrafts institutions in Fez. The move comes as part of a larger movement across the Kingdom to raise the status of English as a language essential to development and tourism

The struggle to spread the use of English has been going on for the last few years. Back in November 2016 the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Rachid Belmokhtar, declared that the Ministry has taken serious procedures to expand and improve the use of the English language among students in the Moroccan Kingdom.

At the time Belmokhtar revealed that, in response and accordance with the reform project called for by King Mohammed VI, the Ministry of Education has adopted new approaches and methods to expand and improve the comprehension of school pupils in the country’s newly adopted second foreign language of English. “We’ve tried to encourage the creation of English clubs in all high-schools to encourage students to be able to speak it,” Belmokhtar said.

The move towards promoting English has recieved support, not only within Morocco, but also from abroad. Prominent Kuwaiti businessman and Muslim scholar Tariq Al-Suwaidan has been quoted as saying publicly, “French language is useless and a waste of time.”

Muslim scholar Tariq Al-Suwaidan 

Al-Suwaidan went on to say, “I am serious, French is not the language of tourism, science and civilisation. France is a backward country in terms of administration.” He pointed out that...“Today, the language of science is English – keep it in your minds. I see proof that Arabic was the historic language of science, however, the current [leading] language of science and tourism is English,” noting that “80% of scientific researches in every field are released [and conducted] in English and the 20% of [researches are conducted] in other different languages.”

“French ranks as the 16th most widely spoken language. So, it is useless in the fields of tourism, science and civilisation,” he said.“I think, according to your history and the dominance of the francophone [culture], which you have to get rid of it – you are still attached to French [language]. We need to break this barrier, because it is useless. [Please] pay to attention to this and learn English.”

Over the past years, the issue of English has become controversial, but, according to a 2015 survey, conducted by news website Hespress, 85.98% of Moroccans want to replace French with English as the country’s first foreign language.

300 Artisans will gain increased proficiency in English 

Morocco World News reports that the new project for artisans is part of a partnership agreement between the ministry, the American Embassy, and the American Language Center to provide beneficiaries with tools to communicate with tourists and improve the sale of their products.

More than 300 artisans in the Msala and Aouinat Hajjaj handicraft institutions will benefit from this program, which will be assisted by the University of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah  and the handicraft chamber of the Fez and Meknes region.

“The program aims to empower young trainees with various tools including communication, to enable them integrate in the labor market and to develop this sector which is considered one of the pillars of the national economy,” said Fatema Marouane, the head minister.

The American Language Center in Fez is a major partner in the program

The program, launched in the presence of the Wali of Fez-Meknes region, Said Zniber, and the representatives of all partners of the program, will comprise 36 hours of educational activities which might be expanded, along with certificates to be given to the beneficiaries by the ALC.


Monday, March 20, 2017

The View From Fez - 4 Million Visitors!

On Monday, March the 20th, 2017, The View From Fez reached a milestone of 4 million visitors!

Since our first story back on October 24th 2005 The View From Fez has posted more than 5,200 stories about Fez and Morocco. Over that time we have had contributions from many talented photographers, writers, artists and journalists - to them: our thanks!

While our stories are read in over 100 countries, the top 10 contains only one surprise - the growing interest from Russia. Also growing in importance, though not yet in the top 10, is China, which provides a growing number of visitors.

Since we started analysing our numbers with Google Analytics, our 4 million visitors have contributed to more than 5,524,159 page views and around 30% are regular visitors. For those who enjoy statistics, 30% of our visitors are aged between 25 and 24, with 45% being female and 55% male.

All our posts are searchable, which has resulted in some pages being particularly popular. Top among them are: Moroccan Recipes (125,000 visits), Beginners Guide to Moroccan Carpets ( 116,000 visits) and Basic Facts about Morocco (66,000 visits).

One of the great pleasures of working on the blog is the interaction with local artisans and artists as well as having become a Media Partner with the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music as well as the Fes Festival of Amazigh Culture.

We would like to thank our sponsors who, year after year, have allowed The View From Fez to contribute to our local community through such things as paying for surgery for a young female burns victim, the Girls Home in Ziat and the Medina Children's Library. In addition we were able to take the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood to Australia for two major Festivals; Woodford and the Sydney Festival in 2015.

The Hamadcha performing in Australia

The View From Fez would not be possible without the hard work of photo-journalist, Suzanna Clarke, who not only contributes to the blog but also assists in answering the floods of emails!

Finally, a big thank you to our readers and our local community here in Fez.