Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project

by High Atlas Foundation
Play Video
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project

"Never Again." In the face of one of the most tragically learned lessons in human history, perhaps these are the only words we can say. My recent visit to Auschwitz and participation in  the March of The Living forced me to question the reality of these words: will they ring true for future generations?

We need regular reminders of our history as we move toward peace and human development. My recent visit to the death camps in Poland was a clear confirmation of this for me. I spent my birthday in a space of remembrance of one of the darkest times in history, looking at photos, speaking to survivors, spending time in communal grief, and participating in communal hope. When I looked at pictures of Jewish women in Auschwitz taken moments before they were killed, I saw my mother’s eyes looking out at me. Later, I spoke to Steven Korda, a holocaust survivor I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet during the March of the Living. “I strongly believe in hope,” Steven told me, “as I believe in your generation to pass this around the globe.” As a Muslim Moroccan youth, I firmly believe what is expressed in the Quran:  “Humanity comes before everything.” I proudly kissed Steven’s hand to express my respect and gratitude for his willingness to share his experience.

Participating in the March of the Living gave me a more complete understanding of what I had seen in the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jews who were murdered, sharing the stories of the survivors, and honoring Jews who fought for their lives. As I marched through Kraków for hours, I was deeply moved as I considered the experiences of the men and women who had walked these streets before me.

God said in the Quran, "Who ever killed a soul, except for a soul slain, or for sedition in the earth, it should be considered as though he had killed all mankind; and that who ever saved it should be regarded as though he had saved all mankind"  (Sura 5: AL-MAEDA 32).

This encouraged me to participate in the march as a step towards pursuing peace across national and religious boundaries.

Unfortunately, humanity still faces critical challenges around the world. In order for my future children to experience a world that is free from the immense grief of tragic events like the Holocaust, they must be introduced to the stories of the past and hold an understanding of what we should never repeat.

Something important we should understand; sometimes it’s tough for the Holocaust survivors to be dwelling on the past when they are asked almost the same questions every time, however, it’s not a secret that their stories should be shared as much as possible in a fair and right way.

Therefore, I urge decision makers to continue sharing the pillars of peace by bringing people together for peacebuilding dialogue, as well as to end hate and conflicts, for the sake of humanity, and for the overall safety of our planet. I appeal to you to use all diplomatic means available for this purpose, furthermore, the Holocaust history should be in every educational system, schools are the first base for a positive change.

I also, call on youth leaders and civil society actors to contribute in collecting and saving interfaith stories, this will plant the seed of tolerance and peace, as it will improve understanding of the “other”. Individuals particularly those who may have influence can make a significant impact by using their influence in sharing hope, love and reality on social media.

Every day is an opportunity to make this world a more peaceful place. Never again will we allow such massive injustice to destroy our society; never again should we underestimate the power of our choices in ensuring a better tomorrow.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The High Atlas Foundation is an organization committed to inspiring the next generation of environmentally-conscious individuals. Recently, the HAF team planted fruit trees with schools in Dakhla, which marked the beginning of a successful collaboration in the region.Three schools participated in the fruit tree planting – Nahda Primary School, Errazi Middle School, and Abdelkarim El Khattabi Primary School – with over 50 students sharing the experience. Because of the overwhelming success of the first event, surrounding schools have reached out to HAF with a strong interest in hosting similar tree planting events.

Hana, a member of HAF, began the workshop with a brief presentation on the importance of tree planting and environmental protection. The students were captivated by her deep passion for nature as she spoke. They learned about tree planting and maintenance processes, leaving the workshop with a new sense of responsibility for the environment.

As the event progressed, students enthusiastically rolled up their sleeves and began to work alongside the HAF team. With giggles of excitement, they planted trees, beaming as they watched the barren land around them transform into a thriving green space.

One significant addition to the event was the participation and engagement of many prominent officials from the Ministry of Education. Their presence highlighted the importance of environmental conservation and the role of young minds in shaping a sustainable future. As they participated in the tree planting, they matched the excitement of the students, forming a wonderful connection with youth in the community.

As the event concluded, students enthusiastically promised to take good care of the trees and were excited to watch the trees grow as they attend school nearby each day. The impact of the event went far beyond the environmental benefits of the tree planting itself. It was a valuable opportunity for the students to learn about the environment, the importance of trees, and their role as stewards of the planet. They gained first-hand experience that will promote their engagement as advocates for their communities and champions of environmental action. As I soaked in the excitement from the wonderful day, I realized that active engagement and cooperation are some of the best forms of education and one of the most effective and exciting ways to teach the next generation to steward our planet.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Planet Earth is in dire need of environmental protection and sustainable development. Every day, we witness the devastating effects of climate change and the gradual depletion of natural resources. There are organizations and individuals who are working tirelessly to create a greener, healthier world. And the High Atlas Foundation is one of them.

On the third Monday of each year, HAF organizes an annual tree planting event with Moroccan communities around the kingdom. Hana, HAF’s project manager for the south, celebrated this day in Boujdour province, where 6 schools benefited from the fig and pomegranate fruit trees, and 120 students participated in planting the trees with their teachers and the schools’ staff. The main aim of this activity was to promote environment protection and sustainable development by planting seedlings of fruit trees. But it was much more than just planting trees; it was a lesson in preserving the environment and preserving water during irrigation.

Under the expert guidance of Hana, the students were taught how to plant seedlings and how to take care of them to ensure their growth. Hana gave valuable advice on how to preserve water during irrigation, which is a crucial factor in a region where water scarcity is a major problem. The students were also educated on the importance of trees in reducing the effects of climate change and the benefits of growing fruit trees for both the environment and the economy.

Everyone showed enthusiasm and interest. It was heartening to see the students, who are the future of our planet, taking an active interest in environmental protection and sustainable development. By teaching them how to plant trees and preserve water, HAF is not just creating a greener world, but also building a generation of eco-conscious individuals who will carry the torch forward.

It is worth noting that HAF’s work extends to all parts of Morocco. Our efforts are not just limited to planting trees; we also work on propagating democratic concepts such as participatory governance and civic engagement, cooperative building, family literacy, and cultural dialogue and preservation.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

On January 13, 2023, the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakech organized a participatory meeting within the framework of the exchange of cultures and religions between students of the Yeshiva University, located in New York City, and students of the Legal Aid Clinic at University Cadi Ayyad in Marrakesh.

This meeting consisted of a visit to a community tree nursery in the village of Akrich, on the outskirts of Marrakech, which contains a 700 year old Jewish cemetery.

When the students of the legal clinic in Marrakech arrived at the nursery, we were received by the President of the High Atlas Foundation, Dr. Ben-Meir, and the nursery supervisor who is also the cemetery’s guardian, Mr. Baddah.

While we were waiting for the students of Yeshiva University to arrive, we took a quick tour to understand the work of the nursery, which includes tens of thousands of tree saplings, including carob, fig, and pomegranate. There was also talk about the method of planting it and the natural conditions that must be appropriate for each type to give more fruits.

After that, we enjoyed tea until the arrival of the other students. We welcomed them and they welcomed us with joy and in an atmosphere of peace, love and respect as a natural result of the relationship between Moroccan Muslims and world Jewry, especially since a number of them are of Moroccan origin.

The students from both universities were divided into groups in order to conduct a participatory workshop, exchanging about cultures.

After that, a welcome speech was given in English on behalf of the Legal Clinic in Marrakech to the students of the University of Yeshiva, While the speech was initiated by a professor on behalf of the students, speaking about our Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him.

The most beautiful thing said in this speech was: that this participatory meeting does not bring together just ordinary people, but rather brings together two strains: the lineage of Isaac, and the lineage of Ishmael on the other hand, and that the lessons learned in the past must be adhered to in the present in order to ensure its continuity and build a better future.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The first tree planting day event I participated in as a new HAF member was very meaningful to me. I witnessed the greatest miracle of all. Life.

It was a perfect, sunny day. I met with the team members at Abdellah Oueld Bahia School to plant fig and pomegranate tree saplings.

We were welcomed with great enthusiasm by the administration personnel. We invited the students to join us in the activity. Hana, HAF’s Program Manager, explained the steps of planting fruit trees.

The first tree was planted jointly by Laarbi , the School Director Abdelaziz, and Hana. Next, the students were divided into six groups of 4 and 5 people, and each group was responsible for planting the trees following the method Hana had explained.

I was pleasantly surprised at that sight. The children were very excited; they were running all over the place. All of a sudden, the entire place was full of life. The liveliness didn’t stop for a long time.

The children were very meticulous with their work. They assembled in teams; some brought water, some dug holes, some brought the saplings, and some filled the holes with earth. The buzzing activity that filled the place seemed to me like a beautiful painting whose charm I am unable to describe. They were very excited to be a part of this project, they felt proud of themselves, and they knew they were doing something good for the environment.

Later on, Hajiba, HAF’s Program Director, and Mounia a small workshop about plant life and sustainable development in which they taught the children about the importance of events like this and gave them ideas and information about how to protect the environment. This workshop reinforced the children’s commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of the young trees that were entrusted to them and their school.

This event had a special significance to me personally. I recalled how one day in the past when I was a student at this school. I met my previous teachers who have grown older under the merciless grinding of time, and so have I. I never dreamed that I would be able to return the favor to my old school. Yet, with the help of HAF, I did.

This event opened my eyes to the cycles of life and death. Time comes and goes, people come and leave, nothing remains but sweet memories and the few kind acts we do along the way. The ‘Life’ we planted in this school may not flourish today but decades later, it will bring its fruits.

The fruits I am talking about here are not merely the trees' fruits, rather, the true fruits are the children in whom we planted the right seeds.

These children will grow to respect their environment. They have learned the importance of Life: the life of the other life forms without which we could not live on this planet.

Climate change is a crisis that is looming on the horizon. It is a heritage of the Industrial Revolution that we, the youths of today, shall bear. Only through consistent tree planting efforts, awareness campaigns and movement to renewable energy sources, could we mitigate this crisis's disastrous effects.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AtlasHigh
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City , NY United States
$56,106 raised of $100,000 goal
851 donations
$43,894 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

High Atlas Foundation has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.