thomas duncan By Thomas Duncan

In M'hamid el Ghizlane, at the very end of the Draa River Valley in the Saharan Desert of Morocco, the Joudour Sahara Music School has begun the foundation for developing youth and developing the community through music education. In this video, we introduce four smart and talented girls, who we are proud to call our students at Joudour Sahara.
In M'hamid, there are almost no spaces dedicated to youth, and no spaces outside of school that allow youth to constructively express themselves and learn and develop new skills in a structured setting. Any formal or informal spaces that do exist are almost only available to boys. Joudour Sahara has become the sole public space that provides girls an outlet for creativity and self-expression, teamwork building and skills development. In the conservative and rural community that M'hamid is, whether or not parents would let girls participate was a concern of ours, and one we wanted to approach appropriately. What became clear after time, was the blurred line between traditional community values and a lack of opportunity. It wasn't normal for girls to participate in such public arenas simply because there were no spaces, and thus opportunities, for them to do so. A core value of Joudour Sahara is creating our own opportunities, and sometimes helping youth develop tools for building success quite literally means building a space for that to happen.