Coventry University students will help preserve 1,000 years of history and support traditional artisan trades as part of a project to regenerate and protect one of Morocco’s oldest towns.
Projects including turning trash into art, supporting struggling artisans, and creating the community’s first history museum will all take place in the forgotten town of Sefrou when the Changing Lives Programme returns to Morocco in October of 2016.
The ancient city was once a bustling trade hub and home to ruler, Moulay Idris II, but has since been left to fall to poverty and ruin as young people leave for nearby cities.
A group of 11 students have been chosen to continue a partnership between the town and Coventry University which aims to help some of the poorest families adapt to a changing world and protect their ancient heritage.
During 10 days of regeneration work, the group will meet traditional craftsmen and artisans to help explore how they can benefit from tourism and a global online market.
They will learn about the mixed and unique religious heritage of the town where Berber, Arab and Jewish families have lived side by side for more than 1,000 years.
Students will also promote sustainability where litter and waste is a major problem, and help teach young people the importance of preserving their culture and traditions.
Working with Moroccan non-profit arts organisation, Culture Vultures, they will use recycled waste cleared from the streets to make artwork for the town’s hospital and create Sefrou’s first museum to document its important history.
The group will also revisit Sunshine Square, a community space created last year to transform the ruins of a house and which has since inspired other locally-led schemes.