Challenging hate with inspiration: how a teacher set up a project to empower students from deprived areas in Morocco
Lhoussine Qasserras started working as an educator in 2008 in the south of Morocco in an area called AKKA far from the big cities. Years later, he started teaching in a public high school in Salé. A place that he describes as a popular area, where people with low income and the middle class live. Mr. Qasserras soon realized how vulnerable his students were to criminality and extremism. The situation became more serious when one of his students started expressing sympathy for ISIS. According to him, the student became familiar with the ideology preached by ISIS via social media. Although he remained polite and quite in class, he started talking about it among its peers:
Here in Marocco there are two main causes that lead to extremism: poverty plus ignorance
The growing concern with this situation led the professor to set up the Global Bus Foundation. According to him, young individuals are not empowered enough and their voices are not heard, especially in deprived areas. The foundation, as well as facilitating workshops on conflict resolutions and peacebuilding, emphasizes the importance of cultural differences and provides students with educational visits to parliaments, universities and associations. He describes the activities held by the foundation:
We organize fun activities such as Students Got Talent and Cultural and educational visits to great and inspiring institutions that young people in deprived areas will never have access to these kinds of activities since they are poor
The name Global Bus Foundation was not chosen by chance. It gives people the idea that the activities are not restricted to one area. Conversely, they move from a deprived area to another to give more students the possibility to improve their skills and contribute with the construction of a better society as explains Mr. Qasserras:
Young people are the backbone of our society, playing a crucial part in its development
The main target audience of Global Bus activities are students from 10 to 25 years old, but it also provides activities to children who are 4 years old and adults who are studying. Students Got Talent had its first season this year and has already managed to draw the attention of many students who are willing to speak up and showcase their talents.
(Students Got Talent – Final Challenge)
According to Mr. Qasserras, witnessing how actions like this can change people’s lives is priceless:
Some students had extreme ideas towards education in Morocco that produces only jobless people. Now after this competition, they gained their self-esteem and hope. Some said that they aren’t very good at school but they are excellent at art. They start to believe that each single person has something good inside him/her. They need just a push; someone to inspire them to focus more on their strengths rather than weaknesses
The Foundation that was set up in Morocco two years ago now has ambassadors in Vietnam, Senegal, China, USA, and Thailand. They share the same mission: the willingness to inspire youth to be productive, and proactively make a difference in our world. In the future, Mr. Qasserras wants to operate in the poorest African regions, which are in desperate need of help and initiatives. However, to do so, the Foundation needs funding. He also wants to organise international conferences to give students the chance to share their successful stories with students from other countries and inspire them to also use their talents to turn our world a better place to live.
Knowing the story of Global Bus Foundation and Lhoussine Qasserras was only possible because nowadays we have the internet. With a simple message, we became aware he is doing basically the same Words Heal the World has started doing with universities: inspiring students to realize they can effectively make a difference in our society.
Youth can promote peace since they are creative, innovative and strong. They can do voluntary work based on activities about peace. They can also share peace on social media; they are internet generations. We teach them how to use internet positively for the common good. Young people can also promote peaceful societies through the participation in exchange programs
Despite the violence rates in his country and the difficulties in raising funds, Mr. Qasserras never doubted the power of youth. Therefore, wherever you are, be aware that you have a talent that may contribute to heal your community, your family, your country, our world:
My message is that every single person on earth has something positive inside him/her, so focusing on that bright side will not only make a good impact on you but also on all people around: you will make a difference just believe in it! – Lhoussine Qasserras.
In case you would like to be in touch, feel free to contact Mr. Qasserras:
And if you want to know more about Global Bus Foundation, access: https://www.facebook.com/globalbus.training
By Georgiana Mariut (University of Westminster / UK)