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Returning young girls from child labor, to their families and into education, helps them to escape the cycle
of abuse and poverty.



The project

“My entering college is the most positive thing that happened to me in 2009 because it gave me hope for a better future.” Saadia, 15 years, former ’little maid’.

The Challenge

Experts believe more than half of the 600,000 child laborers in Morocco are girls under the age of 15, some as young as six. Many of them work long hours as domestic servants. Often referred as ‘petites bonnes’ or little maids, these young girls are vulnerable to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. With few education opportunities, most find themselves illiterate as adults. Without family or other support, and with few skills, most live in poverty on the margins of society and some turn to prostitution to survive.

Despite Moroccan law prohibiting child labor, the practice remains prevalent due to extreme poverty, poor access to education (particularly for girls), and widespread social acceptance of child labor.

The Approach

The Womanity Foundation, through its local partner – Institution Nationale de Solidarité avec les Femmes en Détresse (INSAF) – has been working in Chichaoua since 2005. This is one of the main poor rural regions from where many of Morocco’s little maids are recruited, usually by brokers, to work in middle class urban households.

The project began with three key goals:

  • To identify little maids and help them to return home and attend school. Financial support for 90% of these girls is aimed at enabling them to graduate from secondary school.
  • Ending child labor and discrimination against little maids by raising awareness about the dangers it implies among children, their families, and local communities.
  • To lobby provincial, regional, and national authorities to adopt a framework to protect children from exploitative labor, and to ensure their effective enforcement.Since 2010, the project’s reach included the El Kelaa de Sraghna region and El Haouz, and INSAF aims to further expand in the Rhamna, Fés, and Meknés regions. INSAF is also concurrently scaling-up its lobbying activities.

The Impact

  • 218 former ‘little maids’ were supported in the period 2005-2014 with an educational scholarship.
  • There has been a dramatic drop in the number of “little maids” from the villages where INSAF has been active since 2005.
  • In 10 years, INSAF organized several awareness campaigns on the risks of child labor, including domestic work, reaching over 10,000 community members, 14,218 children of which 6,432 girls, 187 local organizations and 318 representatives of local authorities, 424 schoolteachers and 77 school principals.
  • INSAF created a coalition of 60 local and national Moroccan organizations who campaign and lobby for better laws and enforcement measures to prevent child labor. The network is led by Amnesty International Morocco, The Moroccan Association of Human Rights, la Fondation Orient-Occident and INSAF.
  • In 2010, INSAF was awarded the prestigious Prix d’Excellence pour le Development Humain Durable by the Fondation Suisse Maroc pour le Dévelopment Durable (FSMD).

Read our latest report on Eradicating Girls’ Labor in Morocco.

Valued Partners

Institution Nationale de Solidarité avec les Femmes en Détresse (INSAF), authorities, and local associations. Womanity funded INSAF’s activities alongside other donors including UN Women, Coopération Belge, Drosos Foundation, and L’Oréal Foundation.