El Houssaine Ichen promoting accessible holidays in Morocco.
El Houssaine Ichen lives in Tounfite, a high but remote town in the beautiful Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco and leads a simple life with his parents and four brothers and four sisters in a basic family home.
His parents were too poor to have him vaccinated and he caught polio at three and since then has been paralyzed in his legs and uses leg braces and crutches for walking.
“I grew up with this handicap so I don’t let it slow me down,” he says. “I enjoy playing football, trekking and swimming. I am also a keen chess player and like music and riding my quadbike in the mountain trails that surround my home.”
El Houssaine was educated in a special institution called “École Ibn al-Baytar” at Khemisset. “The institution at the time was run by the British welfare fund Save the Children and I was sponsored by foster parents in the UK. I went on to college in Khemisset and then to Itzer, a small town closer to my home.”
Last year he started the Disabled Tourist Guide website and has started to offer assistance to all tourists, both disabled and able bodied. “My website is being built at the moment and I have established an ongoing presence on facebook, click here.
“Currently the page has over 3000 followers and I am using my networking skills to build up a community so I can help disabled tourists enjoy the parts of Morocco they would not normally get to see.
“As an active member of the Couchsurfing community I host overseas guests in my sisters’ houses in Khenifra and Meknes, as well as hosting couchsurfers in my village in Tounfite and arranging tours for them if they want.
“Many Moroccan companies still discriminate against the disabled but I am campaigning to change this at government level by raising awareness of the difficulties faced by disabled Moroccans in the workforce. My hope too, is to develop my own viable tourism business by providing information on accessible holidays for disabled people and persons with reduced mobility.”
He has a BA in Modern Art, a diploma in informatics’ management, a specialised diploma in informatics development, and is currently in the third year of a T-S Webmaster degree.
“I am also a natural and self-taught linguist and speak Tamazight (the Chleuh Berber language), Arabic, English, French and basic Dutch.”
The Disabled Tourist Guide’s mission is to develop and champion disabled led tourism in Morocco. The company is now ready to start looking for paying customers and also agents to work with.
“As a one man operation with low overheads I only need a little support to start and believe that my tourism niche has potential to help everyone. Let me help you see beautiful Morocco!”
If you would like to explore the beauty of Morocco with me, I would love to be your guide!
Contact El Houssaine Ichen
Tel: +212 6 62 62 45 24