By Nina Schmitz
After more than three years of study I felt the desperate need to get out of the environment and way of thinking that became normalized to me. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to Morocco and volunteer with the High Atlas Foundation for ten weeks. I desired to learn about a new country, a new culture and maybe also about myself.
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir will be speaking at the One-to-One Forum this coming Monday on June 20th at the main branch of the New York Public Library (5.30pm, Chabad Midtown at 509 5th Avenue, 4th floor). This twelve hour forum of talks from thought leaders, 'fireside' conversations, and arts performances, are meant to engage youth and adults alike to discover philosophies on how our public and private lives can work together to "do good" in our respective communities domestic or abroad.
One-to-One is a global initiative to educate and inspire individuals to act for the betterment of themselves and the world. The inaugural One-to-One Forum brings together leading changemakers—from breakthrough scientists and educators to philanthropists and social entrepreneurs—to examine and elevate the essential role of personal responsibility in effecting lasting, positive change.
By: Ramzi Talbi
Our most recent adventure with High Atlas Foundation (HAF) was thirty kilometers from Marrakech. The Ourika Valley is home to one of HAF’s nurseries, located on the land of Lhaj Abdlekbir by the Ourika river. The nursery is maintained by women of the Aboghlo cooperative, a group of local women who strive to improve their economic and social life. In addition to working at the nursery, they produce locally-grown products, such as couscous, herbs and jams and HAF is using the participatory approach to implement projects that suit the needs of this local community.
The Aboghlo women work at the nursery twice a week and start their day around 6 am. This is great way for them to socialize, support each other and transfer knowledge from one generation to another.
Before HAF’s connection with the cooperative, the women used olive trees’ shadows to protect from the sun and take their breaks. Our staff thought about a better alternative – a place where the women can host visitors and take breaks. HAF’s staff and volunteers brainstormed a plan to build a shelter which would provide more reliable shade.
Working in the development aid sector requires passion and the will to do something great. It also requires time and a huge amount of work! This month, we are celebrating all the hard work that our interns here at HAF accomplish. We wish to thank all the wonderful interns that spend their time, effort and money to support the High Atlas Foundation in achieving something great.
By Mark Apel, Former Peace Corps Volunteer
This spring, I had the privilege of volunteering in Morocco for the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), a US 501(c)(3) and Moroccan non-profit organization that focuses on disadvantaged rural and urban communities through participatory development. This small but mighty organization, based in Marrakech, was founded by former Peace Corps Volunteers in 2000 and is now headed up by former volunteer Yossef Ben Meir - a dynamic and inspiring 21st century leader for helping others realize their greatest potential. HAF has implemented projects in sustainable agriculture, namely tree and plant nurseries, organic certification, processing, technical training and commercialization. They have also been successful in addressing other development issues in education, clean water systems, and the empowerment of women and youth.