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Planting and growing trees with schoolchildren and farmers in Youssoufia

By Fatima Zahra Laaribi

Office Manager and Women Empowerment Facilitator

 

 

The third Monday of January – this year on the 15th- is a day in which the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) held a special day of national tree planting across Morocco.  This has become an annual event since 2014, the year that HAF planted its millionth tree.

 This is the second year that HAF has planted in the mining town of Youssoufia, where we reached new places this year.

HAF’s new director, Larbi Didouqen, Fatima Zahra Laaribi (HAF’s women empowerment trainer), and Darsen Hover (HAF volunteer from New York) traveled together to plant in four schools as well as with some farmers.  Throughout the day we were joined by four volunteers from the OCP Group, as part of their program, “Act 4 Community Service”.

 We started our journey with rain, which is traditionally viewed by many cultures as a positive omen; Mr. Larbi and I considered it good luck for this planting season, especially because Morocco has been experienced a very long period of drought.

 Throughout the day, HAF and its local partners, the Amal Elghade Association for Rural Woman and Children, Binaa Association for Sustainable Development, and of course the directors of the four schools, planted in two rural communes (Gantour and Sbiaat) in the province of Youssoufia.  We planted in Abdelaziz ben Chakroun and Faouariaa primary schools, and Omar Alkhayam and Al Banae middle schools, in addition to two villages called Chhidat and Ait Oulad Taleb.

 HAF hand delivered 400 olive trees, 210 pomegranate, 900 almonds, and 70 carob trees, as well as 8 palm trees for the schoolyards and for the farmers to plant in their own orchards.

 

As he always does, before beginning the planting process, HAF’s director with the background in Agricultural Engineering, demonstrated the proper techniques for planting trees as part of raising awareness about planting.

 

 

Throughout the day, OCP volunteers and presidents of associations showed a great eagerness and energy, and participated actively.  At the moment of planting, OCP Volunteers expressed that this was the first time they had picked up the shovels to plant trees. Then we were invited by the directors of the schools to make a short visit to schoolyards where we had planted last year. We were very impressed that nearly all of the tiny saplings that we planted last year had grown beautifully and gave fruit, especially the fig trees.  This assured us that students, teachers and headmasters gave great care to these trees.

Even though the planting process coincided with the period of exams and just a very few students took part, teachers, and directors showed appreciation, joy and happiness with the hope that we will continue to pursue this great environmental initiative with students.

The day ended with two farmers who received their trees with gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of rural Moroccan communities. I look forward returning to Youssoufia to see the continued prosperity of the trees.

 

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HafFdtn After the event in the Annahda schools, the team from @SiemensGamesa, #HAF, local authorities, and school members h… https://t.co/38WEDNT3NW
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HafFdtn #HAF thanks Indrianty, a previous volunteer, for her support on the #environmental campaign in Awziouat beach and t… https://t.co/yuW0s3igxJ
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HafFdtn Eliana, it was a great pleasure having you among us and it is very enjoyable working with you. We really appreciate… https://t.co/KCnz7Lsb8r
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HafFdtn Eliana Lisuzzo a brilliant person who worked for the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) for 6 months. She is wonderful and… https://t.co/xhWNx6So0P
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HafFdtn The olive trees that #HAF planted four years ago with Annahda and Al Masira Alkhdra primary schools have finally st… https://t.co/48pw9KE4H1
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HafFdtn #HAF is grateful to Sonia Adnane and Basma Lahmine of @SiemensGamesa for their encouragement. Also thanks to the st… https://t.co/XGrMeUn6K1
HafFdtn #HAF and @SiemensGamesa distribute two trash bins to Al Masira Alkhdra and Annahda Schools to prevent and to protec… https://t.co/B8sSue93JI
HafFdtn With guidance from a teacher, a group of students in Annahda Schools learns how to prune the trees. They discover t… https://t.co/mmn0LzEUYG

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