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International Migration: The Invisible Heroes


Student clinician at the legal clinic of the Faculty of Law in Fez (4th cohort).

As part of the training courses offered by the Legal Clinic in partnership with the Open Chabab movement, an educational session was organized titled "Migration in Morocco: Overcoming the Impasse". Dr. Elizabeth Toll and Dr. Adam Pallant – two physicians from the USA who work with refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants – were present during this session.

The event began with welcoming remarks by Mr. Hicham Houdayfa, co-founder of the Open Chabab program, followed by questions posed to the audience about their impressions of the book.

Discussing important migration issues with experts and clinicians. Picture by HAF, June 1st, 2023.

Dr. Elizabeth then delivered a presentation on the global situation of migrants, starting with an explanation of the distinction between refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. Immigrants are individuals who voluntarily leave their home country to improve their living conditions. A refugee is someone who flees their country due to fear and is unable to return, while an asylum seeker is a person who has left their home country as a political refugee and seeks asylum in another country.

Discussing important migration issues with experts and clinicians. Picture by HAF, June 1st, 2023.

During this interactive session, Dr. Adam shared stories of migrants and refugees based on his experiences working with immigrants in hospitals. Their insights shed light on the challenges these refugees face, particularly in terms of social and cultural integration.

The students showed great interest in the topic, engaging in lively discussions and posing thought-provoking questions. Many wanted to understand the emotional and psychological issues faced by migrants. The two doctors shared some of the most impactful testimonies and stories they have encountered throughout their careers. One particularly moving story was about a young Mexican boy who crossed the USA border on foot with his older brother, an experience the doctor considers to be the most significant of their career.

Discussing important migration issues with experts and clinicians. Picture by HAF, June 1st, 2023.

Overall, the training day was well-received by the students of the Legal Clinic, providing them with a broader understanding of global migration. Our guest speakers left the room accompanied by applause from the students and the Critical Thinking team, who were grateful for the opportunity to be part of this training.

Together, we can contribute to improving the situation for migrants in Morocco. We must engage in open and constructive discussions about the challenges they face, seek solutions that promote their social and cultural integration, raise awareness within society about their circumstances, and advocate for policies and programs that safeguard their dignity and fundamental rights.


The Legal Clinic of the Faculty of Law (Clinique juridique de la faculté de droit - CJFD) in Fes aims to elevate the status of youth, women, and underrepresented communities by providing pro-bono legal aid and entrepreneurship training as a means to engage civically and economically.

Over the three years since its inception, the program has trained 369 (50% women, 50% men) master’s and doctoral students of law to administer legal aid and facilitate capacity building with community beneficiaries in the Fes-Meknes region of Morocco. In that time, student clinicians have worked on a total 267 case files pertaining to entrepreneurship, immigration and asylum, family mediation, psychological support, human trafficking, employment, and real estate. Additionally, 256 have benefited from the establishment or growth of 39 private income-generating projects and entities following entrepreneurship training and mentorship.

The program was established first as a pilot project in 2019 as a collaboration between the High Atlas Foundation and the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fes. From 2020 to 2022, the program’s continuation and expansion to include concentration on the promotion of entrepreneurship was funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). A new cohort is being trained in 2023 to ensure the program's sustainability in the future.

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