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Discover Joudour Sahara

Learn About Joudour Sahara’s dynamic programming and unparalleled initiatives. Click on a section for quick navigation

Founded in 2016, Joudour Sahara began activities in the centre of M’hamid El Ghizlane in southeastern Morocco. We now engage 90 students and more than 100 musicians across the Southern Draa Valley region

Modern music activities typically reach youth from M’hamid and from Tagounite, while traditional music activities include more than 70 youth from more than eight villages. There are no such activities offered elsewhere in southeastern Morocco, and due to the extraordinary efforts of our team, we are able to realize positive change in M’hamid El Ghizlane and beyond

The Music School

Witness the real impact music has on local youth, musicians, and entire communities


Positive Change through Music

Established in partnership with Playing For Change Foundation, Joudour Sahara offers weekly classes in guitar, percussion, vocals, ensemble performance, and the traditional styles of Ahidous, Gnawa, Rokba, Akalal, and Chamra

Scroll down to see how positive change is realized through music across diverse groups of community members from the region


Meet our Student Naji

Joudour Sahara student and M’hamid El Ghizlane youth Naji has been attending the music school for a couple years now, learning how to play guitar, bass guitar, and traditional percussion 

Watch his beautiful performance of a traditional Saharan folk song and learn how he has developed during his time at Joudour Sahara

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Connecting Cultures through the Blues

Learn how Joudour Sahara has used modern blues music to build bridges across cultures through a residency with Grammy – nominated American musician Vasti Jackson. Project completed in partnership with the U.S.Embassy in Morocco, Playing For Change Foundation, and Visa For Music African and Middle Eastern Showcase

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Traditional Music Transmission

Watch our efforts to establish a weekly curriculum to pass down ancestral music heritages between generations

Support from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco and the International Society of Music Education allowed us to establish this programming, sustained today with support from Playing For Change Foundation

The Environment

With partners Sahara Roots Foundation and Aziza Chaouni Projects, Joudour Sahara is becoming a national leader in the fight against desertification at the grassroots level

Water Management

The most vital of resources, water has become among the most scarce resources available in the Southern Draa Valley. Unsustainable use of wells, water-inefficient crops like watermelon, and rapid soil salinization locally aggregate to form what can only be characterized as a water crisis

For 10 years now, Sahara Roots Foundation has incorporated the Growasis Waterboxx water management system, a planting tool that maximizes water and has proven to increase the survival rate of trees and plants from 20% to more than 80%. We have planted hundreds locally in just the last few years 

Constructing Solutions

Aziza Chaouni Projects has designed inspired facility solutions to lead a regional fight against climate change while also promoting the practice and preservation of music 

Depicted here are the renderings for a multi-purpose water reservoir, combining vernacular techniques, innovative architecture, and efficient use of space in the above ground chamber, a cool space to gather and create during the hot summer season   

Construction of the water reservoir is currently underway

Revitalizing the Oasis

On our pilot farm, we have designed and have been testing a permaculture-based wadi system to reëstablish the three tiers needed for a thriving oasis: ground vegetation; fruit trees; canopy level palm trees. Drought and poor water management have devastated the bottom two tiers over the last several decades

With this devastation, agriculture is no longer the economic driver it was, leading to a massive rural-to-urban migration. This migration is taking local and traditional knowledge out of the region and leading to the disappearance of traditional music and culture

Advocate for the Environment

Support our efforts in the fight against climate change

The Team

Meet our team of local and international specialists dedicated to creating positive change in M’hamid El Ghizlane

Halim Sbai

Director & Co-Founder

Safae Radouani


Aicha Zahaf

Traditional Music Coordinator

Aziza Chaouni

Architect & Co-Founder

Wanda Hebly

Environamentlist & Co-Founder

Rachid Berazougui

Modern Music Coordinator

Thomas Duncan

Development Specialist & Co-Founder

Habib NAME

Environemental Coordinator

Partners & Supporters

Meet our international network of supporters

Playing For Change Foundation


Playing For Change Foundation is an American INGO and founding partner of Joudour Sahara. PFCF supports 15 music programs across 11 countries. A Polar Music Prize laureate, in 2020 PFCF organized the 'Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice' virtual concert in partnership with the United Nations

Sahara Roots Foundation


Based in The Netherlands, Sahara Roots Foundation has been leading environmental initiatives in collaboration with Joudour Sahara director Halim Sbai since 2005. A founding partner, SRF identity and environmental philosophy are embedded into Joudour Sahara's identity and philosophy. 'Joudour Sahara' in fact means 'Saharan Roots', named after SRF.

Aziza Chaouni Projects


Aziza Chaouni Projects is an award winning architectural firm who takes on projects of which often combine architectural innovation and cultural activism. Led by renowned architect Aziza Chaouni, ACP has designed the Joudour Sahara Cultural Center, a state-of-the-art cultural campus in the initial stages of construction.

U.S. Embassy Morocco

Project Sponsor

The U.S. Embassy in Morocco has funded several Joudour Sahara initiatives, ranging from initial support to hire our first teacher, to the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and creation of draaheritage.org, to the Connecting Culture through the Blues project bringing Vasti Jackson to M'hamid el Ghizlane.

The Music Room


The Music Room is an American operated audio equipment retailer with an aligning internal mission to create positive change through music. Since 2020, TMR has provided regular support to Joudour Sahara to purchase instruments and build our inventory in order to widen access to cultural opportunities to local youth in M'hamid el Ghizlane.

Music Tribe


Founded by Uli Behringer, Music Tribe believes in 'obsessively empowering' creativity. In 2021, Uli Behringer and Music Tribe began a sponsorship with Playing For Change Foundation, which includes building material capacity at Joudour Sahara and the renovation of our music center to provide more creative space for our students.



Renowned Japanese audio equipment company, Roland believes in 'inspiring people around the world with the thrill and excitement of creative experiences which surprise, delight, and stir the soul'. Roland began donating guitar amps and keyboards to Joudour Sahara in 2020. Watch the video below to see Roland's impact on our youth.



American instrument manufacturer, Gibson has designed and manufactured some of the most iconic guitars ever produced. Gibson guitars are a particular favorite among Saharan musicians, like Tinariwen and Imarhan, and Gibson donated dozens of guitars to PFCF programs, including Joudour Sahara in 2021.

Thank You Roland!

Watch a short video detailing Roland’s impact on Joudour Sahara

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peace | tolerance | social cohesion | through music