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News > Exiles > Exiles - Clare Minejem - Morocco

Exiles - Clare Minejem - Morocco

In our latest 'Exiles' feature, we catch up with for pupil Clare Minejem (McCaughey) from Class of 1999.. Clare has made her home in Marrakech, Morocco.
7 May 2021

Clare first travelled to Morocco as a teenager with her parents and older sister Karen (Class of 1997).

“My parents had friends who ran an outdoor pursuits centre in the High Atlas Mountains and we came to visit them making the long journey by plane to Spain, boat to North Morocco and sleeper train (the Marrakech Express) all the way down to Marrakech. 

I returned in the summer between Lower and Upper 6th with several other girls in my school year (Nikki Campbell, Jenny Harrison and Sarah McCormick) on a charity visit.  After that the rest is history - Morocco, especially Marrakech has a way of getting in your blood.”

After school Clare went to Queens University in Belfast to study Medicine, but always intended to move to Morocco long-term.  

She spent half of her final year overseas elective in Morocco and the other half in Beirut, and spent every free holiday in Morocco, bringing groups and working in the outdoor pursuits centre in the mountains.  

“I started to specialise in Emergency Medicine post-grad, and then moved to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine where I did a Masters in Tropical and Infectious Diseases which took me to Sanaa in Yemen for several months on a research trip. I finally moved to Morocco in 2008.”

Initially Clare was unable to practice medicine as non-Moroccans can’t get jobs in the country.

“I spent a year studying Arabic and then worked for a health care charity.  In 2010 my status to practice changed, because I married my Moroccan husband, therefore being counted as a local for employment.  

Moroccan men are notoriously known for their constant planning to find a foreign passport and a way out of Morocco … I tell people I married in to Morocco so I could get my papers!”

With her marriage, and her papers, Clare began an 8 year journey to have her qualifications recognised and registered with the Medical governing body in Morocco, during which time she was volunteering in the local hospital's Emergency Department while still doing some charity work.

“Now I have all the paperwork and I work part time as Director of Inpatient Care in a large clinic, spending the rest of my time in my own practice.  I tend to look after all the English-speakers in the city, and I also work alongside some local charities to help those less-fortunate access affordable care.”

Clare is also kept busy with family life and has two little girls, Rania (7) and Rayhana (4) who graced the front pages of newspapers around the world when they met Harry and Meghan when the Royal couple visited Morocco in 2019.   

“The girls have three passports and are trilingual. They speak English, Arabic and French, so we are setting them up perfectly for recruitment to the secret services!  

We are very settled here in Morocco. We have no real plans to ever go back to the UK, helped by the fact that my parents, Granny and Granda, retired and moved here several years ago.”

Are you a former Sullivan pupil or teacher now living abroad? If so, we'd love to hear from you - please click here to get in touch by filling out a few details in a short form.

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