The planting and distribution of trees with children is the pinnacle of Sami’s Project, a HAF program inspired by the loving memory of Sami El Kouhen to bring transformational and sustainable benefits to often poor and neglected youth in Morocco.
Sami lost his battle against cancer in January 2007 at the age of 3 and half. While his life was too short, Sami has filled our hearts and lives with tremendous love and beautiful memories. His love for outdoors and nature makes a perfect harmony with the tree planting and distribution project. Sami would have been extremely happy, planting and sharing his hobbies with other children. We are so grateful to be able to nourish and develop his dream and desire through the enthusiasm and the smile we see on the face of all children impacted by this project. Thanks to the High Atlas Foundation, this dream is being carried on benefiting thousands of kids and their communities.
As Sami’s family, extending our hands to kids in need is very rewarding and comforting, and enables us to find some rationale and purpose to our loss. On 16 January 2014 at noon in multiple provinces, it will be children that plant HAF’s 1 millionth tree in the ground.
With each season we have come to feel that every tree we plant is a pinnacle.
Franklin Roosevelt said; “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” Sami’s Project encourages children to be their own advocates for education through the participatory approach that gives them a stake in their education. It teaches the benefits of small scale farming by showing the direct impact of innovative agricultural techniques on families’ income. Students that learn how to properly care for a fruit tree understand the opportunity to scale up and agricultural and market entrepreneurialism, and eventually break their cycle of poverty.
In a few years down the road, today’s kids will be looking around and be proud of the amazing work and impact they had on their schools, communities, regions, and country as whole. By the same token, Sami’s project is providing trees as a tool for growth and development of these kids into responsible and steward generation.
We are so thankful to the HAF for embracing Sami’s Project and marching together in this exciting journey. Sami’s love has brought us to remote places in Morocco to spread and plant hope and joy in a systematic and transformational way. It’s a project where we all win, and will continue to honor Sami’s love and life, in new regions as well. I hope you join this pinnacle.
Dr. Rachid El Kouhen, Sami’s father