Monday, June 01, 2015

MOROCCO - Orphans Left Behind

"In Morocco, strict adoption rules leave many orphans without hope" PBS NewsHour 5/27/2015


SUMMARY:  Orphanages in Morocco face a unique challenge in trying to find permanent homes for children in their care.  A recent law has made it nearly impossible for many would-be parents, especially under the Islamist government.  Special correspondent Kira Kay reports as part of a partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  We turn now to Morocco and a story about a government ruling that has left many children without families.

Special correspondent Kira Kay reports.  Her story is produced in partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting.

KIRA KAY (NewsHour):  It’s noon on a school day in Fes, Morocco and these children are home for lunch.  They’re a rowdy bunch, 138 in all, ranging in age from 5 to 15.  Later in the day, they will do their homework, play some ball, clean their rooms, normal routine in most households, but these are orphans, some of the estimated 24 children abandoned every day in Morocco.

Nadia Bennis is this orphanage’s director.

NADIA BENNIS, Director, Association Dar al Atfal Al Wafae (through interpreter):  Moroccan society doesn’t accept unwed mothers, so many prefer to get rid of the child at birth.  For the children we find who are older than age 2, we believe their mothers tried to keep their babies with them, but because they are rejected by their families and are unable to find a job, they decided to abandon the child.

KIRA KAY:  The children here are clearly well cared for.  They have tutors to help them with homework and several nurses who run daily life, almost as a mother would.

But Bennis says concerns beneath the surface need tending.

NADIA BENNIS (through interpreter):  We try with the psychologists to handle certain problems.  A lot of work is required to convince the child that he’s not worthless, that there are people who love him.

Also, speech therapy — in an institution, the children have fewer chances to express themselves, so their language skills are poor.

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