Earlier this year in June, we updated you on the work that The Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) had been undertaking since the temporary closure of the craft centres in March in the wake of COVID-19.
As 2020 draws to a close, Danielle, from The Eve Branson Foundation, reflects on how, with support from Virgin Unite and Kasbah Tamadot, the Foundation has been responding to the urgent needs of the communities in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
The Eve Branson Foundation's mission is to develop artisan crafts as a pathway to building resilience and improve wellbeing within communities in the Atlas Mountains, and at this time it's never been more important for us to continue to support Berber communities.
COVID-19 has amplified the challenges families in Morocco face in accessing employment, education, health and social services, particularly in the rural Atlas Mountain communities where the Foundation operates. It has been a busy time for our small yet dedicated team to make sure our programmes could continue to operate safely and make sure the wider community felt supported through the uncertain period of lockdown.
Read on to find out how we have been supporting these communities and how you could be in with a chance of winning a trip to Kasbah Tamadot.
What activities has The Eve Branson Foundation been doing in 2020?
Thanks to funding from Virgin Unite, Kasbah Tamadot and the Foundation supported over 500 vulnerable families during lockdown, providing cash for households to purchase essential goods. This funding alleviated the risk of financial pressures on families caused by an overnight loss of income from tourism and helped to maintain food security in the five villages surrounding Kasbah Tamadot.
We knew we needed to urgently lead the hygiene awareness around COVID-19 on the ground. We distributed accurate information in Arabic tackling spread of misinformation on social media, produced 3,200 protective face masks by EBF craft centre members and given to local people at grocery points and purchased and distributed 30 litres of hand sanitiser gel and 1,500 disposable gloves to the communities.
The EBF tailoring programme continues to produce masks for the local community and for guests arriving at Kasbah Tamadot.
Since 2015, Virgin Atlantic pilot, Chris Hall, has organised Climb Morocco, an exciting trek which sees a group of intrepid climbers take on North Africa's highest mountain, Mount Toubkal (4,167m) in the High Atlas Mountains, supporting the EBF by raising money for the communities in the Asni Valley. More than 200 adventurers have completed the climb; early December was to mark the fifth ever climb but it has had to be postponed until December 2021.
Climb Morocco has raised nearly £100,000 ($133,000 USD) and they knew in 2020 they urgently needed to continue their support, even without the climb, at this difficult time. Chris and the team have arranged their very own fundraiser - a raffle with some truly fantastic prizes! In true 2020 style you can take part in the raffle wherever you are in the world and win some incredible prizes: a 4-night stay at Kasbah Tamadot or 2 places on the Climb Morocco trek in December 2021. Excitingly, Sir Richard Branson will be announcing the winners early next year!
Find out more and buy your raffle ticket here by emailing the team on email@example.com
EBF has supported the #SavetheMedina campaign created by French retail duo, Chabi Chic. The campaign helps Moroccan artisans share their work and connect with a new global marketplace and 100% of sales of items go back to the artisans and training programmes. EBF artisans have also been creating exclusive items for Chabi Chic which can be purchased online.
What are our plans for 2021?
Looking ahead to next year, we will continue working with the community and team at Kasbah Tamadot to develop two new projects. We are in the process of establishing a community centre for the Asni Valley, including a learning library, technology room and music school. And we are leading on the ‘Cleaner Region’ campaign, building on the successful outcome of the litter collection project to encourage more villages to participate in waste management programmes. Watch this space!
If you would like to make a donation to these projects and to help the EBF continue running craft programmes for local families, please follow this link.
Follow The Eve Branson Foundation on Instagram.
Follow Kasbah Tamadot on Facebook.
Follow Virgin Limited Edition on Instagram.