On this World Habitat Day, BLOOM Charity joins the United Nations and organizations around the world to raise awareness, educate, and mobilize individuals and communities towards action for the basic human right of adequate shelter.
BLOOM’s mission includes advocating for the human rights and basic needs of over 65,000 children living in Moroccan orphanages. This World Habitat Day, we want to draw attention to the important role decent housing plays in removing barriers to opportunity, success, and health – and ensure children living in orphanages are not left behind in this important global conversation.
BLOOM’s beneficiaries are far from realizing their right to adequate shelter, safe spaces to learn and play, and access to basic services such as quality education, health, and sanitation. In our visits to orphanages all over Morocco we have found bare beds crowded into small rooms, inadequate space to sit and/or socialize, insufficient levels of sanitation materials, and little to no access to play areas. Our beneficiaries are overlooked and not prioritized in city planning and budgeting processes. Morocco’s orphanages, often located within poorly equipped urban hospital buildings, or in the middle of crowded medinas, are grossly inadequate for healthy growth and development. Long-term outcomes are dire – with many children aging out of orphanages without the skills necessary to live an independent, healthy life. They suffer from much higher rates PTSD, depression, and are 500 times more likely to die by suicide.
BLOOM believes every child deserves to grow up in a healthy, safe environment with an equal opportunity to develop and succeed. A saying of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) states “There are no rights that the son of Aadam is more entitled to than these four rights; a home to dwell in, a garment to cover his nakedness, a piece of bread, and water.”
When we visited our first orphanage, located on the top floor of a hospital building in the city of Meknes, we were shocked to find the children would go many months without even stepping foot outside. They would sit stationary for hours on end in small, cramped, dimly lit rooms. These conditions no doubt led to stunted social emotional health and poor physical development. BLOOM’s first Magical PlayGarden was on the rooftop of this hospital building. When our photographer Khalid captured the children entering their new rooftop PlayGarden he said “It was like watching birds be released from a cage.”
In the four years since, BLOOM has funded and built 8 more PlayGardens, adding over one million dollars in value to the orphanage infrastructure of Morocco. Our PlayGardens provide vulnerable, orphan children with safe, accessible, and green spaces to grow and develop. The benefit of a space to run, roll, climb, laugh, learn, and heal is immeasurable and transformational. It is also their human right.
Together, we can continue to improve quality of life and long-term outcomes for children living in Moroccan orphanages by enhancing their places of shelter to include play spaces for laughter, learning, hope, and healing. Join us in this important mission.