Dar Taliba students favourite gardening season has finally arrived!

By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, GDF Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator

With lots of rain last month and a perfectly functioning drip irrigation system in place, the Dar Taliba gardens are looking green as ever and the 143 students couldn’t be happier to spend lots of time outside in the gardens.

As mentioned in our last project update, we started gathering the girls for short sessions at the beginning of their trainings to talk and exchange information about traditional plants and their uses. So far, the students discussed different uses and health benefits of rosemary, lavender and geranium. Rosemary, for example, has an important economic value and can be considered as one of the most important plants in terms of essential oil applications due to its healing properties. It is used as a natural antibiotic and to treat respiratory diseases and dizziness, amongst other uses.

During our garden trainings, the students also discussed climate change, soil ecosystems and making crop choice decisions depending on the season. “I feel that the students are really engaged and show a lot of interest in the garden,” Omar, a trainer from our partner Radiant Design, says. “In the beginning the girls were a bit shy but today they asked lots of questions and share their thoughts and ideas during our sessions.”

We have also harvested lots of fresh vegetables last month, including carrots, turnips, lettuce and beautiful radishes and the girls have been preparing “on-the-spot” fresh salads with these. Last week’s recipe included a mix of different lettuces, freshly picked lemons, radishes and coriander. A real organic treat and the girls had so much fun being creative with all these ingredients!

Making fresh salad from the garden

The students have also continued growing aromatic plants, such as rosemary, both in the greenhouse and in the plant nursery. Once the plant cuttings are strong enough and start growing roots, the students will transplant them to plant bags and take them home to their communities, located in the High Atlas mountains. We are so grateful for the continuous support of our GlobalGiving donors, making all these exciting activities happen.

Finally, we carried out a writing workshop for 30 Dar Taliba students that were interested to enter the #MedStoryPrize, a recently launched short story competition aimed at celebrating Mediterranean culture and biodiversity. During the workshop, we talked about all aspects of biodiversity through a conservation hangman exercise and quiz while exploring environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction. Students also talked about traditional land use practices found in Amazigh communities and relationships between people and nature in the High Atlas. At the end of workshop, the girls picked up their pens and started writing down ideas for their stories and main characters. We can’t wait to read the final results and share them with you!

Dar Taliba students during a writing workshop
Students during a discussion on medicinal plants
The gardens are looking green as ever this spring!

This article was first published as an update for our Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens project on GlobalGiving.