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    Marrakech was looking tired. There were few tourists and the weather was stormy. I took a taxi drive south, chasing the sun along the route des Amizmiz, stopping for coffee in a berber village and musing on why a donkey refuge was named Jarjeer which is Arabic for rocket - the salad leaf.

     

    Jarjeer Mule and Donkey Refuge at Oumnass is built over six hectares of desert scrub. It is also the starkly beautiful home of Susan Machin and Charles Hantom - visionary human rights lawyers who waved goodbye to a cosy English retirement after moving to Morocco and adopting a wayward donkey. One donkey became two and two quickly became twelve. Jarjeer is now famously home to nearly two hundred animals - mules, donkeys, horses and dogs. 

     

     

     

     

  • "Our lives have changed beyond recognition during the development of the Refuge. We realise that the things that were important to us in the West (cars, clothes etc) are no longer important."

  • A frail white donkey caught my eye. His overlarge head radiated soul. He was found  three years ago outside the Pizza Hut in Marrakech and has been living peacefully at the refuge ever since. Pizza is a cart donkey who had been abandoned and abused, with his tail removed - to prevent it from catching in the cart straps. Years spent pulling carts through heavy traffic resulted in a thick coating of tar on his head - diesel fumes are a major cause of air pollution in Morocco. Pizza lives in the hospital stable now, he is fading but still manages a turn in the sun each day. He is content.

     

     

     

  • “Many of our visitors have been upset by what they see as animal abuse in the cities and are heartened to visit a place of peace and calm where Moroccans are working in absolute tranquillity with the animals.“

     

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    Throughout the two year coronavirus pandemic the Marrakech tourist trade collapsed causing immense hardship to the Moroccan people and their horses. Jarjeer has become a foster home for open carriage tourist horses who were left to starve. After being restored to good health they go back to their owners. Tragically food was so scarce during Covid 19 that donkeys were found with their mouths wired shut to stop them foraging. Morocco, culturally has poor animal welfare performance but there is improvement due to education and awareness initiatives and social media focus on inspiring animal rescue charities like Jarjeer.

     

    Read the full Jarjeer story at www.jarjeer.org

  • "Caroline Marrack’s beautifully composed travel photographs are testimony to her knowledge of history painting" - Lucy Thorman, CIRCLE

     

    Circle support animal welfare and ethical travel

     

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    At CIRCLE we champion aesthetically engaging art and craft for the contemporary environment. This year we are giving a bi-monthly Zine slot to individual works which reference the history of art, culture and society.