News / Africa

Single Mothers in Morocco Abandoned Thousands of Babies Each Year

Abandoned children sleep in an orphanage in Morocco
Abandoned children sleep in an orphanage in Morocco

Multimedia

Audio
Anne Look

Thousands of babies are abandoned in Morocco every year because their single mothers are too afraid to face family and friends. Instead of just taking in abandoned children, one nonprofit has begun working with families to help single mothers find ways to keep their babies.

At this center for abandoned children in Marrakech, kids play and sing with caretakers.

The home currently has about 60 children, between four-days and seven-years old. Many of them were born to single mothers who abandoned them at a young age.

Experts say it is a growing phenomenon in Morocco, where aid agencies estimate that more than 6,000 babies are abandoned at birth each year, roughly one in 50 babies born.

Having a child outside of marriage carries heavy stigma in the moderate Muslim country. Single mothers find it hard to turn to their friends and family for support, but a German-based group, The League for Child Protection, is seeking to change that.

The League runs this home for abandoned children in Marrakech and others like it around the country, but it is also working with single mothers and their families to try to prevent children from being abandoned in the first place.

The League's Director, Lamia Chrabi Lazreck, says they are making headway.

Lazrek says they have been doing mediation work with some of the parents of single mothers. He says sometimes they have also been able to mediate with the father of the child. He says they have found work for these women and offered to care for their babies temporarily at the center for three or four months so they may have some time to sort themselves out.

Most of the women who come to the center in Marrakech are below the age of 25, several of them are under 18.

One single mother said she is working with counselors to try to persuade the father of her two-year-old child, Maryam, to officially recognize the baby so she can have the legal status and rights of a legitimate child.

She says she wishes the administrative procedures for her daughter could be sorted out so she can live like any other child and have everything she needs. She says she does not want people pointing fingers at her. Our society, she says, is not very forgiving.

Moroccan law provides protection for single mothers, but entrenched cultural norms mean they still face enormous social barriers. Those who choose to keep their babies can be ostracized by family and friends and find it difficult to support themselves.

Despite important reforms to Morrocco's Family Code in 2004, the law provides little protection to single mothers who can still face criminal prosecution for having had sex outside of marriage.

UNICEF Representative to Morocco Aloys Kamuragiye applauded the intervention and support the League for Child Protection is giving mothers and their families.

He says it is a very interesting and important experiment the League is leading in Marrakech. He says it should be supported by all Moroccans and replicated throughout the country.

The League runs six other centers in Morocco. Aid agencies say government and societal support for the League's activities is growing, but much remains to be done.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid