Location and general information
To allow children whose parents are in financial difficulty to discover the values of sport from an early age, the Solidarité Marathon des Sables association opened the Sport Éveil Académie sports centre in Ouarzazate, Morocco in 2010, supported by donations from local sponsors and the Children & Future association based in Monaco.
Built in the outskirts of Ouarzazate, the sports centre was renovated and reopened on 14 April 2019. With a surface area of over 5,000 m2, the centre provides an introduction to sports sessions (for ages 3–12) and athletics sessions (for ages 6–12) to 240 children, 45% of whom are girls. Football sessions are provided for both boys and girls and registration is free. Sports outfits are provided, as well as a snack after every session.
The sports centre is located close to two primary schools in areas where there were previously no sports facilities. Now, lots of children aged 3–5 have access, for the first time in their lives, to a place where they can socialise and learn through games and sports.
The aim of the project is to connect the centre to a drinking water supply, install a 120m-long athletics track and create a mini seven-a-side football pitch. The plan is also to keep the sports centre running by partially covering the salaries of four of the eight coaching staff for a limited period of time. In 2020, the 35th Marathon des Sables was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning there were no competitors, no volunteers, and also no sponsors and no donors.
The facilities are designed to ensure sports can be played safely and the space also accommodates competitions. Playing football encourages the girls and boys to try other sports. Paying part of four salaries for a limited period will prevent the centre from being closed down, allow training to continue and avoid talented and committed staff being lost.
- A mini football pitch with artificial turf will be built at the sports centre.
- A 120m-long running track with two 120m-wide lanes will be installed.
- Connection to drinking water will be performed by technicians from the national water authority.
- Running training sessions will be organised.
- Competitions with prize-giving ceremonies will be held each month.
- A drinking water supply will mean that costly plastic bottles will no longer have to be used.
- The salaries of four employees will be paid during the first half of 2021.