Travel With Your Heart

By Alice Morrison

Epic Travel has committed to support the fantastic charity, Fiers et Forts (Proud and Strong), which gives a safe haven to at risk children by donating a proportion of the fee from every trip booked by clients to help them continue their work.

The Centre Fiers et Forts is a home and base for underprivileged children in Tamesloht which lies just outside, Marrakech. As of today, the centre welcomes and cares for 105 children. It was set up in 2004 by Madou  (Dorothea Eijkman).

She saw first hand the suffering amongst the very poorest children in the area and could not walk away. Instead, she started working with them, and fourteen years later that work still continues, supported now by her daughter, Dorine.

The village of Tamesloht had suffered a long period of drought,  which resulted in an exodus of those of working age and terrible poverty for those left behind. Poverty, disease and family breakdown resulted, leaving children uncared for, out of school,  and left to their own devices. Many had nowhere to go.

Fiers et Forts offers the children a haven. It has residential facilities for those children who need somewhere to live and it also offers lessons – both academic and practical to equip them for the future. It has a small farm attached where the children can learn about gardening and about animal husbandry. The animals are also used as therapy and the animals from the centre are not used for food because the children love them too much. There are cooking classes in the kitchen and everyone helps with the chores. No child is ever deserted and Fiers et Forts offers protection to those who have been abused.

Its mission is  “to offer the children the best chance to become independent in society.”

Charlie Shepherd, Founder of Epic Travel, says it is a place that is really close to his heart, “When I was first introduced to Madou, I quickly gathered that I was in the presence of someone special. Her energy and commitment to the project that she later introduced me to convinced me immediately that we had to help in any way we could.”

He decided to support Fiers et Forts through the donation of a proportion of every guest’s fee because, “The welcome centre is a joyous place for children who have experienced very tough starts to their young lives. Madou and Dorine have chosen to devote all of their time to this cause and are loved like family by the children at the centre. Visiting is a humbling, at times sad, but ultimately hugely inspiring and uplifting experience, and it is great to feel that we are helping in their very worthy cause.”

For Dorine and Madou, the donations from Epic Morocco are a godsend. “We need all the help we can get,” says Dorine. “Our work gives these children a real chance for a successful future but it takes time as some of them have been terribly damaged and we must be able to look after them and protect them within a loving environment.”

For more information on Fiers and Forts or to make a donation, click here.