Jood, a Moroccan charity that is particularly interested in the personal hygiene of the homeless is launching a “Shower Truck”, dubbed ‘Jood Digne’, aimed at benefiting 8000 homeless from cleaning services in one year.
Convinced of the strong correlation between cleanliness and the social reintegration of the homeless, Jood caters for the hygienic needs of the homeless of Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and El-Jadida. For 5 months in a row, Jood organized weekly showers for the homeless in collaboration with public Hammams (Moroccan variants of the steam bath), but it was eventually forced to stop them due to the protests of the Hammams’ clients who feared transmittable infection.
For many, having absolutely nowhere to carry out their activity would be a good enough reason to bring the entire initiative to an end, but not for Jood. The association had seen so many of its beneficiaries decide to go back to their families and start their lives over again after simply feeling clean again, that it can’t stop. And in order to keep it going, it had to come up with a creative solution that involves the possibility of benefiting people living in the streets of different areas and cities on the one hand, and being exclusively reserved for them on the other … like a Shower Truck!
Jood Digne, A Shower Truck
In an interview with International Morocco, Hind Alaidi, the president and founder of Jood said that she kept thinking about a way to resume the project, and around a year later she saw a track used as a mobile shower for the homeless on a Facebook post and thought that utilizing one would solve her conundrum for good. She immediately called a friend of hers in Washington, an expert in vehicle redesign and customization, who told her she did not to have buy one from the US and that she could instead have it made in Morocco. After conducting a needs analysis, she began raising funds and approaching providers, one of whom was Michel Riad Sahyoun, the president of MECOMAR group.
“I heard he was a charitable person and I approached him with the hope to get a discount on a 3-ton track. Much to my surprise, he offered us a 20-track for free in addition to customization, which would be carried out by a company affiliated with the group that specializes in the production of adapted equipment.” Recounts Hind.
The track is arranged to encompass 4 shower cabins, 2 sinks for tooth pasting, a space for hairstyling and shaving, a roller-shutter closet, a 2000-litre water tank filled from fire hydrants, and a solution for identifying and registering the beneficiaries. This solution will help create a database about the beneficiaries which can be used by the authorities to issue identification cards for them and, thereby, make it easy for them to find jobs.
A Massive Project
In order to get this off the ground, Jood is currently raising money (Donate) to cover four expenses: the hygiene kit, the clothing, the logistics, and the manpower. The operation necessitates a hygiene kit consisting of shampoos, razors, tooth brushes and paste, and washcloths for each of the beneficiaries at a total cost of 57,400 MAD (around $6,000).
After a shower and a haircut, each homeless will receive a clothes bundle that contains a tracksuit, undergarment, a winter beanie, a pair of socks, and a long towel that the homeless can use as a blanket. This necessitates an annual budget of MAD 1,408,000 (around $145,000), which the charity is currently raising.
The logistical aspect amounts to a total of MAD 117,700 (around $12102). This will go for diesel, insurance, stamp duty, track maintenance, and cleaning products. Lastly, Jood will employ a full-time driver, a barber, a logistics officer and a manager at a yearly budget of MAD 195,600 (around $20,120)
An Impressive Record, No sponsors
The association is centered on helping those without a roof over their heads regain their dignity and reclaim their position in the society. On top of the admirable monthly average of 6400 meals, Jood has distributed around 10,000 bundles of winter clothes, and financed 4263 medical prescriptions, as well as 61 surgeries. Added to this, it has attracted 3377 volunteers in the four cities where it operates, and managed to reintegrate 237 homeless person into the society through providing them with training and employment.
Asked whether Jood relies on the financial support of the state or the sponsorship of international charity organizations, Hind unveiled that ever since the organization was founded three years ago, it has been surviving uniquely on the donations of individual contributors.
Ezzoubeir Jabrane is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistic and Literary Studies. He has written a number of journalistic, analytical and academic articles in different fields. He’s worked as a teacher of Academic English at Hassan II University in Casablanca and a teacher of English for Engineering in the National Higher School of Arts and Craft (ENSAM), in addition to a number of other private institutions. Ezzoubeir is the founder of Exchange Lab and a founding member of International Morocco. His company Exchange Lab offers 3 services revolving around the use of English in the workplace: Business English & Language instruction, translation services, and content and multimedia content creation.