August 10, 2015
The High Atlas Foundation’s August Newsletter features updates on the HOUSE OF LIFE initiative, as well as Sami’s Project and the “Baby Booties” initiative in the Tassa Ouirgane community.
HOUSE OF LIFE is an innovative agricultural initiative whose implications are broad and resonate acutely with current world events; set in the specific context of Moroccan human development needs and cultural history, the model thus created could be replicated throughout North Africa, the Middle East and beyond.
The term HOUSE OF LIFE denotes a traditional name for a Jewish cemetery. It was therefore particularly appropriate for the Governor of the Al Haouz Province, Younès Al Bathaoui, to employ the phrase in respect of the project, led by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) in the Kingdom of Morocco and endorsed by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in three provinces.
The uniqueness of the scheme lies in its intercultural aspect. HOUSE OF LIFE facilitates the free loan of land adjoining Jewish burial sites, in order to establish organic tree and medicinal nurseries for the benefit of neighboring Muslim farming communities.
Aided by the creation of HA3 (the High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal social enterprise), a complete process from farm to table is envisaged, thus addressing existing gaps in the organic agricultural entrepreneurial system. Organic certification, fair trade prices and wider markets – national and international – are secured for local farmers, whose communities go on to benefit from reinvestment in further projects. Read more here.
Skilled yet disadvantaged women from the Tassa Ouirgane community have been busy training in yarn dyeing, crocheting and sewing to produce baby booties in partnership with the US charity Gendap.
By the end of the project, destined for an exhibit of baby girls’ traditional footwear from nearly 30 countries, two hundred pairs of booties will have been created, thanks to the insightful leadership of Amina Elhajjami and Kati Roumani, together with Marrakesh businesswoman Khadija Benbourahel, who made the project possible in Morocco and also donated to the initiative. The women of Tassa Ouirgane will receive a fair price from Gendap for the commission and the exhibit is set to open in Dallas, Texas in 2016. To see more pictures of the training and crochet sessions, check out our Flickr.
HAF enjoyed a record-breaking planting season, establishing a total of 15,231 saplings and trees with students and staff of 86 schools in nine provinces throughout Morocco. All told we have planted more than 320,000 with communities – including in nurseries they manage – as part of the overall farm-to-table value chain.
These successes would not be possible without the continued support of our partners. HAF is especially grateful to the Embassy of Switzerland in Rabat, Morocco and the PaperSeed Foundation, based in San Rafael, California, USA. Their vital contribution is part of a broader effort to empower youth while cutting CO2 emissions. We also would like to sincerely thank Lucky’s Farmers Market and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs for supporting education and essential aspects of the green growth value-chain.
Donations to Sami’s Project allow primary and secondary schools in rural Morocco to grow fruit trees and herbal medicinal plants for pedagogical nurseries and to provide training in arboriculture, giving youth a deeper connection to their community and land. To read more about the future impact of this project, check out our blog.
Learn more at www.highatlasfoundation.org
For more information please contact: HAF@highatlasfoundation.org ; +212 (0) 5 24 42 08 21