Abdallah Wahbi will never forget the day he found his sister scribbling on a piece of paper, thinking she was writing words. Like his mother and grandmother, she had never been to school, because she was a woman. In that moment, Abdallah decided to become a teacher and dedicate his life to ensuring girls and boys alike had access to quality education. Since then, he has taught in some of the most deprived regions of Morocco. He was first assigned to the Abi Al-Hassan Al-Alghi school, located in a remote village. It had no electricity or internet, and the conditions were especially harsh in the bitter winter. Regardless, Abdallah was determined to make learning fun for his students, and introduced them to theatre, singing, drawing and technology. He charged laptop batteries at the weekly market, so that the children could spend a few hours learning on computers. By the time Abdallah left the school four years later, his students were taking part in theatre festivals and their academic performance had greatly improved.
Abdhallah then moved to a group of schools in another remote village, Tiznit. Although the schools had access to electricity and computers, they presented other challenges. Most of his students came from poor backgrounds, with an 80% illiteracy rate among their parents. Because it is a rural area, Tiznit did not have playgrounds or recreation centres. Abdallah resolved to make school the place children could go to have fun and interact with their peers. Technology was a valuable tool in this endeavour. Many of the children were unfamiliar with technology, so in 2008 Abdhallah developed an interactive whiteboard using a Wii console remote. Since then, Abdhallah and his students have virtually visited 32 countries using Skype. They have also been in contact with children and experts around the world, learning about different professions and cultures, and teaching others about their cultural heritage.
To keep girls in school, Abdhallah held regular meetings with their fathers, to stress to them the importance of education. Since Adballah started teaching in Tiznit in 2007, just three girls have left school. For the past two years, most his students have achieved scores of 100% in maths and science, and 90% in French. Some of his pupils have gone on to work in teaching, medicine and engineering.
Outside of school, Abdallah has set up 13 summer camps and organises free workshops to train teachers on the use of technology. He helps coordinate transport to help children get to school, and tutors young people in a wide range of subjects including photography, time management and podcasting. Since 2009, Abdallah has supervised a project to supply clean drinking water to a nearby village, and teaches financial management to staff at local NGOs.
Abdhallah has won many accolades for his incredible work, including a Royal Medal of National Merit from His Highness King Mohammed VI.