HAF project manager Amina El Hajjami, who oversees Sami’s Project, an endeavor focused on enhancing primary school education and facilities in rural Morocco, recently went on a follow up visit to schools that participated in High Atlas Foundation’s tree planting day on January 16th 2014. During the event HAF reached a milestone of planting 1 million trees in Moroccan communities. Amina visited schools to talk with students and find out how they were continuing to take care of the trees they planted at the start of the year.
The first school Amina visited was the Imgdal elementary school in rural Imdgdal Qiadat Ourgan circle Asni in the Al Haouz Province. The event was a cooperation between HAF, the N’afis Association for Economic and Social Development (a local association that supports schools and economic and social development initiatives) as well as the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. During the 1 Million campaign day, 40 students participated in the planting of 25 trees on their school grounds. Students worked individually and in groups to plant each tree. During the tree planting students discussed issues around responsible natural resource management and caring for trees, developing stewards and stewardesses of the environment.
After the initial planting each student or group of students were assigned the responsibility for continuing to take care of the tree they planted. Laila, a student in her first year who planted an olive tree, lives next to the school and often thinks about the importance of caring for the trees to help them grow. She explained how she cares for her tree like her friends at school care for the trees they planted. “I feel responsible for my tree,” said Laila.
Project Manager Amina’s journey then brought her to the Talbrit elementary school where she met with Nour Ddine, a student in his fifth year, in rural commune Sidi Riat in the Al Haouz Abdel province. Here, 100 trees were planted in the school. Nour has taken on the responsibilities to care for all of the trees on the property when students are on holiday or summer breaks. Nour learned about pressure-drip irrigation (an improved water management infrastructure technique that conserves and effectively uses water) as well as how to care for trees from growing trees with his family. He now helps other students with weeding and gives them guidance when using the irrigation system. Nour expressed his enjoyment for taking care of the trees, saying, “I always cared for trees because I love this activity.”
With the responsible and conscious environmental stewards that Sami’s Project is developing, each community is successfully advancing towards the development of a sustainable environment.