Students Raise Funds to Build Non-Formal Learning Center



Ifrane, April 11, 2012 – Members of Al Akhawayn student-run Hand in Hand association recently collected over 600,000 DH during the yearly Fun Run to build a non-formal learning center in the city of Azrou, 17 kilometers southwest of Ifrane. 

The Fun Run is the association’s main event destined to raise funds for its various community service activities in the region of Ifrane. Hundreds of Al Akhawayn students, faculty, staff, and children from around the local area participated in the 2012 Fun Run organized by Hand in Hand on April 7, 2012. 

“This year's Fun Run was once again a great success,” said Yassine Habibi (’12), Business student and Hand in Hand Communication Coordinator. “I believe we are on the right track since, years ago, we started our activities in Ifrane, but now we are expanding into the city of Azrou and reaching out to its children." 

Hand in Hand members announced in the Fun Run evening gala the total amount raised; a net of more than 600,000 DH, which will be invested in the creation of a non-formal learning center for children in Azrou, in collaboration with Al Akhawayn's Azrou Center for Community Development. The region knows a high rate of school dropout. The center’s objective will be to provide courses to children so that they can later on pursue a formal education at school. The center will also include a unit of training in craftsmanship for youth who cannot integrate school. 

The Fun Run gathers a large number of participants and supporters willing to help in the social and economic development of local communities. Besides Al Akhawayn community members, kids and parents from local schools, famous Moroccan athletes and local authority representatives took part in the event. Among the participants were middle distance runner Hicham El Guerouj, double Olympic gold medalist and holder of world records; and Mustapha Lakhsem, world champion in kickboxing. The Governor of Ifrane, Jelloul Samsam; the Counselor to the Minister of Youth and Sports; and the President of the Ifrane City Council attended the Fun Run and awarded medals to the winners of the race. 


“I wasn’t even trying to win,” said Claire Amale Thomas Smith, 12-year old student at Al Akhawayn School of Ifrane who came in second in the children’s category. “I was pleasantly surprised, and the race was fun.” 

Al Akhawayn staff and faculty also participated in the run. 

“This is a great occasion to contribute to the area,” said Amal Bouanani, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration. “Hand in Hand is an important asset to local populations.” 

The Fun Run includes an afternoon kermesse where children can take part in many activities and games. 


The event was concluded with a formal gala featuring acts from famous Moroccan and international performers. The gala was hosted by Moroccan TV show host Rachid El Idrissi. Singers, DJs, and comedians livened the stage. 

In 2011, Hand in Hand raised about 700,000 DH. The funds were used to purchase four school buses for children living in remote villages around Ifrane. In the 2012 Fun Run, Al Akhawayn University President Driss Ouaouicha signed a convention with the National Initiative for Human Development and the Governor of Ifrane Jelloul Samsam who agreed to give the same amount of money raised for the purchase of buses. The school buses will provide an easier commute to about 400 children from and to more than eight schools. 

Sponsors of the 2012 Fun Run included Crédit Agricole, Cooper Pharma, Attijari WafaBank, HP CDG IT, ANRT, Sodexo, CDG, Sidi Ali, Ain Ifrane, Groupe Banque Populaire, Torresse, Newrest, Food Goods, Bank Al Maghrib, COPAG, Les Domaines Zniber, and Les Domaines Agricoles. 

To read more about Hand in Hand’s activities, visit