Why do we need help?
The pause in tourism due to COVID 19 has been acutely felt in the medina of Marrakech. The Henna Café Soup Kitchen is a short term project but an urgent, time-sensitive one to prevent starvation and ill health especially of those most vulnerable in this wonderfully warm and resilient community.
In a developing country environment, marginalised people including the homeless, widows and their children, and some elderly and handicapped folk rely on the solidarity and generosity of neighbours who are currently struggling to make ends meet themselves.
What is the Henna Cafe doing to help?
Founded in 2011 the Henna Café Cultural Association operates a café where visitors can enjoy simple local cuisine and safe natural organic henna. In normal times the profits from the café fund an education programme with up to 8 free classes every day. Our motto is “Working together to make a difference!” In response to this crisis Henna Café has repurposed the classroom as a “soup kitchen” providing free nutritionally balanced meals to those in need.
Free meals are distributed daily at the cafe after the evening prayer. Our volunteers also deliver to those in need who are not mobile both within the city walls and to the surrounding areas with the kind help of our friends Pikala Bikes.
A typical meal comprises a large, freshly baked medina wholewheat bread roll filled with nutritious vegetarian tortilla (egg, seasonal vegetables, olive oil and pulses), our homemade energy bar (oats, butter, dates, nuts and seeds) and fresh fruit.
Every penny donated is spent on fresh ingredients. Buying at the wholesale markets food usually costs less than one dollar for each person that we help so you can be reassured even a small donation will make a difference.
We are currently providing more than a thousand free meals a week. Donations large or small do really help us to keep going. The price of a Coffee could provide a meal for three or more people in need.
How can you help?
Morocco is slowly reopening to visitors, if you are able to come to Marrakech you will be warmly welcomed throughout the Red City, and of course at Henna Cafe. If you are not able to travel at the moment please consider supporting this fundraiser either by donating or sharing on social media.
If you live in Marrakech please use Henna Café and be part of the change you wish to see in the world, or if you have time to spare, why not talk to us about volunteering.
The BBC World Service kindly made a short program about the Henna Cafe and our Soup Kitchen Project where Mike, Myself and Zouhair all discuss the project, its origins and progress. Thought you might like to hear it if you didn’t catch it already!
You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/henna-cafe-soup-kitchen