Admin wrote:This is from a member of our facebook page and he wanted us to share this with everybody here.
I was born in Tounfite, an area in the mountains with a cold climate. I contracted polio at the age of three and since then I have been paralysed . But as I have grown up with this handicap, I do not let it slow me down. I make use of leg braces and crutches to assist my mobility. Surprisingly you may find it hard to keep up with me even when mountain hiking. Remember I grew up here and I’m used to the terrain.
I do speak Tamazight (the Chleuh Dialect), Arabic, French, English and basic Dutch. As an active member of the Couchsurfing community I already welcome guests to Khenifra and Meknes, as well as hosting couchsurfers in my village in Tounfite and arranging tours for them all over Morocco if they want. My mission is to develop and champion disabled-led tourism in Morocco. If you would like to explore the beauty of Morocco with me I would love to be your guide! Please feel free to contact me to explore the possibilities!
Why I do this
My mission is to develop and succeed in a disabled-led tourism business in Morocco. I am building up a network to help disabled tourists enjoy the parts of Morocco they would normally not be able to see.
It is my ambition to develop my own viable tourism business by providing information on accessible tourism for disabled people and persons with reduced mobility.
How did i become involved with traveling and trekking?
Traveling is something that I have always loved. I enjoy exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures.
Morocco is a very beautiful place with lots to see and discover. I have been to many parts of Morocco and I am very familiar with the areas that are popular among tourists. I can show them around and teach them about our culture, while keeping their vacation fun and safe.
Why is it necessary to write/use English in a French/Arabic/Tamazight-speaking country? Why do i use the Atlas Mountains/remote areas as my base?
I feel it is necessary for me to learn to speak and write in English because the more languages I know, the more people I can communicate with, which may open more opportunities in the future. This enables me to provide a better experience for people visiting Morocco. In addition, I also speak French, Arabic, Tamazight and basic Dutch.
One of the best experiences in Morocco is walking in the Atlas Mountain areas. It is the best way to get to know Morocco and the people that live here. I am very close with my family, and I live in a village called Tounfite, which is located in the middle Atlas Mountains. It is very beautiful there, and I am able to bring tourists to my village to have a true Moroccan experience
What is a particularly memorable experience i had that transformed my life or the life of my entourage?
The experience that was life changing for me was that I was fortunate enough to have a chance to learn and be educated. I attended a school that was at that time run by the British welfare fund “Save the Children” and I was sponsored by foster parents in the UK. After I was finished, I was able to go on to college. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had, which made me who I am today.
How does being a person with special needs hinder my career growth or limit opportunities for me? How do i manage to overcome those obstacles and fight people’s stereotypes?
Being a person with special needs definitely has its challenges when it comes to career opportunities. There is a stereotype around me, or us in general (people with special needs) that we are unproductive in the workforce, and it is very hard to get the opportunity to prove to the employer otherwise. I have overcome these obstacles by proving that I can do anything I put my mind to and I will never give up.
A specific example or story that always comes to my mind (about my childhood)?
The story that comes to mind about my childhood is when I had to leave my family at such a young age so I could get an education. Although I am very grateful that I had the chance to become educated, leaving my parents and brothers and sisters so young was very hard and it is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
What expectations do i have regarding the situation of Moroccans with special needs?
The situation dealing with Moroccans who have special needs is unfortunately not taken seriously yet. Our government needs to realize that this is a huge problem that many of us are dealing with. We are very capable of being able to be successful employees, or even employers, and being able to provide for our families. My expectations would be to stop the discrimination against people with special needs and for businesses to hire based on qualifications. If you are qualified and can do the work, that should be all that is required.
Do i think that i was lucky to have had a good education, or i work hard to self-educate myself?
I believe that both of these apply. Although as I mentioned earlier that I believe I was very lucky in regards to getting an education. I feel I need to continue to self-educate as much as possible in order to be prepared for any opportunities that may come up in the future. I love learning new things and I am always ready for an adventure.
by Ichen El Houssaine
Disabled Tourist Guide
Mobile : +212662624524