Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Oasis School -- Second Module

Module 2: Seed Evolution & Fungus

The Oasis School team is continuing to deliver innovative permaculture lessons to our youth
beneficiaries in Ait Baamrane. This session, our beneficiaries were introduced to the second
module: Seed Evolution and Fungi. The module was both informative and fun, including movie
projections, student presentations, and arts and crafts.

The module was divided into two sessions, the first one entitled “Waste Management,” introduced
different types of waste and explored recycling options for plastic and paper through presentations
and a video on the importance of waste management. Students also participated in an art project,
where they compared a natural world to a polluted world. Moreover, they learned about how to
reuse waste materials found at the river nearby, improving the environment by making a regular
change to their daily life.

In the second session, “Seed Germination,” the students learned how a seed grows into a young
plant, called germination. They also tasted germinated lentil seeds and had a comprehension lesson
on what makes the best germination conditions (water, warmth, and oxygen). At the end of the
session, the beneficiaries conducted a ‘Seed Germination Experiment’ where they witnessed the
evolution of seeds and had the chance to use microscopes.

The Oasis School curriculum gives beneficiaries the chance to learn core permaculture techniques
that will help them in the future, and for generations to come, as well as protecting and preserving
the natural resources in the region of Ait Baamrane.

As always, thank you to the U.S. State Department for their generous grant which allowed us to
fund this program.

Friday, January 12, 2018

RISE Closing Ceremony

By DSH Intern Katie Huge
The RISE program came to a bittersweet conclusion last Saturday morning. We were sad to let our
wonderful students go, but we are very proud of how far they have come and how engaged they
have been throughout the past few weeks. Amidst the chaos and stress of final exam time, the
RISErs remained committed to the program and consistently showed up, bringing focus and enthusiasm
to class. They were eager to accept their certificates of completion as they assembled in
the Dar Si Hmad classroom for the last time.

To begin the ceremony, Jamila Bargach, the director of Dar Si Hmad, spoke to the students expressing
her pride in their accomplishments and her hope that they continue working to develop their potential
and improve their communities. Then we heard from the RISE trainers Alex, Natalie, and
Nourredine, and from Program Coordinator Soufian Aaraichi. Following the speeches, the
RISErs had their own work to share. Three students - Hasna Lachhab, Brahim Ichou, and
Yassin Fouad - presented the websites they had been working hard on during web design class.
The student with the most impressive website will have their website hosted by Dar Si Hmad for one year.

Trainer Natalie helping out a participant

After the presentations, we had a little surprise for the RISErs. During the program students
had to dance in front of the class when they were late. In order to make things a bit more fair,
trainers Natalie, Alex, Maisie, and Katie embarrassed themselves by giving
the RISErs a small gift to remember their experience at Dar Si Hmad.

Working hard at the last Thurs session

They rewrote a popular Spice Girls song to be about the RISE program and performed it for the group.
The students were all very entertained and it was a fun way to begin the ceremony.

Saying Goodbye at the last Tues Session
The students were then invited into the kitchen to chat with their peers while snacking on tea
and cookies before going back for a final activity. When they returned, Maisie assembled them
into a large circle, and with one ball of yarn, everyone in the classroom formed a web in which each
and every student was connected to two other people. Each person wrapped the yarn around
their wrist to make a bracelet before throwing the ball of yarn to someone they appreciated or shared
a good memory with. While our office cat, Dandara, played and jumped around in a heaven of yarn,
the web slowly started to form and grow wider in every direction. As the game came to a close,
the students passed a pair of scissors around in a circle to cut themselves away from the web.
They keptthe yarn on their wrists and tied them into bracelets to remember that, although
the RISE program had come to an end, everyone was still connected and the memories
of past few weeks would live on.

Trainer Alex helping out a student at the last Thurs session

With that the ceremony finally came to an end. We reminded the students to remain in touch
with us and to stay alert for future events, programs, or opportunities that may be open to them.
They will always remain a part of the Dar Si Hmad family and we couldn’t have been
happier and prouder to lead them.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Oasis School First Module

Oasis School: Soil life Module

The Oasis school is ready to blast off with a new version of the engaging lessons and fun activities we've
used in our previous water school. In the last 4 weeks, beneficiaries of both schools Ihamchouine and
Id achour, were introduced to the first Module “Soil Life.”

The module focused on positive environmental practices. It started with our Oasis school teacher,
Fatiha, teaching the soil types, and what types existed on the land. Afterwards, they moved on to
the soil ingredients, or the "environmental Lasagna." The lasagna is a gardening name which refers
to the method of building the garden soil. The students essentially added layers of organic materials
(remains of tree branches, dead leaves, and cardboard) that will “cook down” over time, resulting in
rich soil that will help the plants to thrive.

At last, they played a scavenger hunt game where they had
to look for a number of insects, organic parts and seeds which compose the soil, in order for them
to understand what the environmental lasagna demonstrates and how it supports the lives of so many
natural living components.

Along with teaching environmental practices, this unit focused as well on the importance of working
and communicating in groups, working together on activities and artistic projects, as well as developing
critical thinking and active listening skills.

Every time the Oasis School team comes to the schools, the beneficiaries show joy and excitement to
learn and practice more. Thanks to the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Grant that we won through

Dar Si Hmad is able to introduce these practices to the Ait Baamrane community, who we hope will
take care of and live off the land for generations to come.

Stay tuned on our social media to get more about the Oasis school and the adventures of our