Recently, Prince Harry and the very pregnant Duchess Meghan enjoyed a flying, three day visit to Morocco. Their visit was to discover how Morocco is empowering women, promoting girls’ education, inclusivity and social entrepreneurship.
The couple took some time to visit The Royal Moroccan Equestrian Club Dar Essalam for their equine therapy with disabled children. Morocco has its own unique breed of horse, the Barb or Berber horse. Tourists to the country, whilst perhaps won’t be treated to a tour of the Royal stables, can’t help but notice the sheer number of working horses and donkeys on the streets.
There are horses and donkeys tourists can use for trail riding. They are predominantly well looked after; i.e. well fed and receive veterinary care when and if needed. However, there is quite an economic gap in Morocco.
A huge number of people rely on equine power, yet not enough have the financial ability to adequately care for them. The Moroccan government works with SPANA, the Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature, to ensure that Morocco’s workhorses are cared for.
Without charities such as Jarjeer Mule and Donkey Refuge, many of these animals would be left to suffer or die. Jarjeer is a retirement home, orphanage and care centre found at the base of the Atlas Mountains, not far from Marrakech.
Morocco continues to champion women, entrepreneurs and inclusivity to such an extent to have caught the eyes of the British Royals. Morocco is trying to balance the demands of the 21st century without sacrificing their Berber heritage and animal welfare.
What sets Jarjeer apart from other charities, is their commitment to not only the animals, but also to the preservation of the Berber culture. The nearby, traditional village has a strong connection with Jarjeer and their donkeys provide therapy to special needs children. Jarjeer's philosophy has quickly established them as a place tourists can enjoy, learn from and rest easy knowing they are directly supporting a local charity.
It is hoped with the Royal visit, Morocco will experience a boost in tourist numbers and better awareness of the charities who provide the lion’s share of care to Morocco’s animals.