MOROCCO: Students at the Salesian Institute of Gières in France visited Salesian students in Morocco for cultural learning
(MissionNewswire) Students at the Salesian Institute of Gières in France recently traveled to Kénitra, Morocco, to meet with Salesian students for nine days to learn more about their culture and way of life. The goal was to increase knowledge between the students of the two regions and to foster friendship and trust. There were 29 French students who participated in the overall project which included the trip.
“This daring and enriching project was launched for students in September 2018, with the announcement of our director and our educational consultant as well as ambassadors of the project, Mrs. Chemin and Mrs. Ducret. From that moment on, the whole class was enthusiastic and eager to meet the students of another Salesian high school outside Europe,” said students Alec and Clément.
Once the idea for the trip was approved, the students had to engage in various fundraising activities to help pay for travel costs. They also had to convince their parents of the value of the educational experience. Alec and Clément explained, “Some parents and even our companions had some fear before leaving, being for many the first time of a trip to Africa. And yet, as Msgr. Cristóbal López, the archbishop of Rabat, during our visit to his diocese said, ‘The world is my home and humanity is my family.’”
Even before leaving, the students of the two Salesian institutes separated by the Mediterranean were getting to know each other through the exchange of letters, videos and conversations on social networks. By the time the students were to meet in person, an excellent rapport had already developed.
“We were greeted by the Moroccan students with songs, poems, dances and flowers. Faced with such a welcome, the emotion moved us and we had no words to describe the joy and happiness of meeting our Moroccan Salesian brothers and sisters,” said Alec and Clément. “Then, over the next three days, we were able to fully put ourselves in their shoes and experience everyday life with them, in their homes.”
They added, “This journey has brought us another vision of Muslim culture and lifestyle in Morocco. We thank the students of Kénitra for their warm welcome and their joy of life. We would like to be able to welcome them and show them our customs and our lifestyle and we hope that this magnificent project continues.”
Salesian missionaries have been providing education in Kénitra since founding its first elementary school in 1937. After the country’s independence in 1956, Salesian missionaries expanded the school, adding secondary and vocational programs that help local youth access training to meet the local labor market demands.
The Salesian schools in Kénitra offer students a comprehensive education regardless of differences in religious beliefs. Today, the schools are run by three Salesian missionaries with the help of lay collaborators. The elementary, secondary and technical schools serve predominantly Muslim students.
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