The Tangier local Urban Council is being criticised for its stingy support of a children's reading project. Having provided support of several million dirhams to associations and sports clubs, the urban district of Tangier has offered a donation of only 500 dirhams (50 USD) for the promotion of a children's reading project
The idea for this project came from a 17-year-old old high school student, Amal Mazouri, and his uncle, Youssef Sarhani. The aim of the initiative is to make the rounds of public schools from Tangier to encourage young students to experience the joys of reading.
The Arabic-language daily Al Massae reported Youssef Sarhani saying: "The initial idea was to organise a small reading festival for the benefit of a few dozen public school students. The stories could then help schoolchildren to enrich their imagination and push them to read more and more bilingual books in Arabic and French".
After several refusals of support for the project, including from a Moroccan association, who complained that the initiative was "unclear", the French Institute of Tangier came to the rescue, accepted the proposal and agreed to present it in its premises.
Following this agreement Youssef Amal and Mazouri Sarhani decided to present their programme within an open space at the library in Tangier with financial support from the French Institute and its infrastructure, including audiovisual equipment and one hundred children's stories in French.
The organisers of the event also wanted to provide school children books and stories in Arabic, So Youssef Serhani headed to the urban commune of Tangier requesting a total of 100 children's books, whose price is only five dirhams each, and a UV tarpaulin to protect children against the sun. To his amazement, the response of the Tangier institution was not positive.
Serhani Youssef said that the event, despite these incidents, was a success. The reading initiative hosted storytellers from Larache and the French Institute of Tangier. Over 90 public school children benefited from the program.
The organisers of the event emphasised their disappointment with the urban district of Tangier, which according to them "is not interested in culture and still suffers from a bureaucratic mentality that goes against aiding the development of young schoolchildren. "
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Thankfully, in Fez the local Fes Medina Children's Library caters to around 400 children a month and is funded by public donations.