By Youssef Mazdou, HAF Program Assistant
Students of the legal clinic learning English. Image Credits: Youssef Mazdou
In January 2023, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), in partnership with the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences of the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech and the Legal Clinic Association for Studies and Research, organized weekly English classes for a group of students. The initiative is part of a program for promoting civil society-university engagement which is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Two interns from HAF, Yvette Broex and Dávid Engelputzeder, are providing instruction with the students. It was the first time that HAF provided English classes at the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences and it has proven to be a great experience, showing how HAF´s partnership with the university can grow.
Legal clinic students from various disciplines participate in the lessons which focus mainly on developing language skills that students can use in their professional lives, primarily covering reading comprehension and conversation. To improve their speaking and writing abilities, students talk about movies and write about their personal experiences. Developing these crucial skills will be very helpful in their professional life but also in other areas of personal growth.
Considering the important role youth development plays in achieving sustainable development in Morocco, HAF strongly believes that teaching languages with legal clinic students – and literacy as HAF does with members of rural women’s cooperatives and their children – is an integral part of enabling them to follow their aspirations and achieve their goals.
I realized that I, myself, was eager to improve my English. I believe that learning this international language will open up many opportunities for me and help me advance my professional career and reach my potential. The classes organized by HAF were the ideal place to do so as I acquired valuable educational vocabulary and I was able to take my English to the next level. Working with other students and the enthusiastic HAF volunteers as well as seeing how English classes can have a big impact on the professional career of students motivated everyone to do their best.
With the support of the mentors the students of the legal clinic in Marrakech were able to improve their written and verbal skills in English by a lot. They were very happy that we came and they would like us to come back to practice speaking English with them. Them taking the initiative to try to continue the lessons showed that they really enjoyed the classes and that they are eager to develop themselves, their knowledge and their community.
The objective of the English classes remains to help students of the legal clinic achieve their academic and professional goals. Providing guidance and knowledge to a group of non-native English speakers is of educational value and it is an example of how HAF and its partners in Morocco promote sustainable development and help people reach their full potential.