Toubkal-Team at the top of the Atlas in Morocco; Credit: © SOSVEM

Luxembourg-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) SOS Villages d'Enfants Monde has announced that this year's global Toubkal Challenge has so far raised €50,000 for educational projects in Morocco.

A Toubkal Challenge was supposed to see the light of day in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic decided otherwise. SOS Villages d'Enfants Monde expressed its delight at being able to relaunch the project this year.

This challenge is part of a tradition of the Luxembourg association which, since 2013, has regularly set up sporting and solidarity challenges leading challengers to the summits of the world. After two Kilimanjaro Challenges (2013, 2014), a Nepal Challenge (2017) and a Uganda Challenge (2019), the NGO recently organised a Toubkal Challenge in Morocco. The objective was to reach the summit of the Atlas and raise funds to support the education of children, particularly young girls, in the rural region of Ait Ourir, at the foot of the High Atlas, a region damaged in September 2023 by an earthquake. A college and a boarding school for girls will soon be built and equipped there.

After a week of expedition including three days of intensive walking, the Toubkal-Team, an international team made up of ten women and six men of five nationalities, has returned home. So far, €50,000 has been raised by the challengers and their sponsors.  SOS Villages d'Enfants Monde, which has pledged to raise €100,000, noted that it would do all it could to raise the necessary funds for the project and is thus launching an appeal for solidarity.

Arriving in Marrakech on Monday 8 April 2024, the Toubkal-Team travelled by bus to the village of Imlil in the province of Al Haouz, the starting point of a tough climb which lasted three days and two nights (spent in a shelter). with the objective of reaching the summit of the Atlas (reached on Wednesday 10 April 2024).

Two days later, on Friday 12 April 2024, the Toubkal-Team arrived in Ait Ourir. Just an hour from Marrakech, this particularly poor town located at the foot of the Atlas is home to an SOS children's village with a nursery school and a primary school. There, the challengers met with the Director of SOS Children's Villages in Morocco, Samya El Mousti, as well as SOS colleagues and beneficiaries who remained in the village on this public holiday. They also visited living spaces and discovered the land where new school infrastructure will be built and for which the Toubkal-Team has raised funds.

The visit was the occasion for a symbolic cheque presentation between the SOS directors of Luxembourg and Morocco, surrounded by collaborators and the Toubkal-Team. As of Friday 19 April 2024, the challengers have raised €50,000 (each challenger having pledged to find sponsors for a minimum amount of €1,500), a sum which will contribute to the construction and equipment of a college (for 500 students) and a boarding school (for 50 girls). The objective is for the children and young people of the town to return to school and benefit from a quality education. Girls especially, who often still in rural regions, are forced to abandon their education to provide for the needs of their families. In Ait Ourir, the new infrastructures are aimed at encouraging them to stay in school but also at allowing the most vulnerable among them to have a safe place to live.

Anyone wishing to support these projects is invited to make a donation via or via bank transfer to the account: CCPL IBAN LU65 1111 0050 0053 0000 (reference: "Education au Maroc").