Morocco High School Community Service

Morocco is a captivating land where majestic minarets tower over spice-scented souks and soaring mountains give way to date palm oases and desert dunes. Explore the enchanting city and markets of Marrakech, then venture into the High Atlas Mountains to work with indigenous Berber communities on projects that promote sustainable development and preserve local culture, history, and language.

June 24 - July 11, 2019
July 13 - July 30, 2019
Airfare is not included. We have arranged a round-trip group flight between New York and Marrakech.

Trip Highlights

  • Work with the Atlas Cultural Foundation and local community members to restore historic architecture using traditional methods.
  • Ride camels along the Atlantic coast to a tented Berber camp at the edge of the Sahara, and sleep under the desert sky.
  • Complete an overnight hiking trek in the High Atlas Mountains and interview indigenous nomadic and semi-nomadic people with their herds of sheep, goats, and donkeys.
  • Stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge, built from the ruins of a medieval kasbah.

Itinerary | 18 days

Days 1-3

Our journey begins in Marrakech at Djemaa el Fna, the city’s central square. Snap pictures of magicians and fortune-tellers, then venture into the medina’s maze of market stalls. Stroll Majorelle Garden, and visit the Berber Museum before we head into the High Atlas Mountains to experience the culture of this indigenous group firsthand.

Days 4-5

Travel to the mountain village of Imlil and settle into Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Built from the ruins of a medieval kasbah, the lodge connects guests with the rich culture of local Berber communities. Set out on a trek amid the sweeping landscapes of the High Atlas Mountains. Meet students enrolled in Education for All, a program sponsored by our lodge that builds boarding houses for girls from remote areas so they can live in town and continue their studies.

Days 6-14

Continue to our Berber host village in the remote Ahansal river valley, and begin working with community members on a variety of projects. Tutor mountain guides and students in English, plant an organic garden, or help paint a mural at the community health clinic.

Meet with representatives from the Atlas Cultural Foundation, an organization that works with rural Moroccan communities to preserve historic architecture using traditional construction methods. Learn these ancient building techniques and hear how local culture is preserved through architecture; then get to work on repairing some of the damaged structures in your host village.

Days 15-18

Cap off your expedition in the fishing port of Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Visit a women’s cooperative and explore the souks, or markets, of this ancient walled town. Set out on a camel trek, riding along the coast to a tented Berber camp at the edge of the Sahara. Share stories from your travels before falling asleep under the stars.

Our community service trips are for students in grades 9-12. Students settle into a community and get involved with collaborative service projects that focus on infrastructure, education, or sustainability. Students work alongside local people, and document their experience through photos, journals, and video. Collaborative community projects provide an opportunity for deeper cultural interactions and insight into daily life in our host communities. Students travel alongside a team of highly-qualified trip leaders—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. Our community service trips are limited to 18 participants, and the student-to-trip-leader ratio is usually between six and eight to one and never more than nine to one.
On this program, students will spend an estimated 35–40 hours on community service projects. At the end of the program, students will receive a certificate stating the number of service hours completed. Projects described in this itinerary are examples and vary depending on the needs of the community.
In our community service village, the group sleeps in sleeping bags in a simple village house. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. We work in teams with local women to help prepare meals. We stay in family-run riads in Marrakech and Essaouira, and in Imlil, we stay in Kasbah du Toubkal—a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection.