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Localize the Change

Joudour Sahara is the only cultural access point in M’hamid El Ghizlane. Meet those who make this change possible

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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 Team

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

Halim Sbai

Director & Co-Founder

Halim has founded several projects dedicated to celebrating, promoting, and preserving Saharan culture and the natural environment, as well as trans-Saharan initiatives developing solidarity and building peace through music

Safae Radouani


Safae and her sisters have worked for years to create opportunities for females in M'hamid El Ghizlane. Safae helps run the day-to-day operations of Joudour Sahara and is a driver of the program's gender development

Thomas Duncan

Development Specialist & Co-Founder

Thomas is an American who has lived in the region for since 2013. He acts as the Programs Manager for the Playing For Change Foundation and is deeply immersed into the musical scene in southern Morocco

Aziza Chaouni

Architect & Co-Founder

Aziza is an award-winning architect and activist promoting the preservation of traditional culture in Morocco. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto

Aicha Zahaf


Aicha coordinates Traditional Music Programming at Joudour Sahara and is a traditional musician and dancer herself. Along with Safae, she drives gender development locally

Wanda Hebly

Environmentalist & Co-Founder

Wanda is the Co-Founder and President of Sahara Roots Foundation, a Dutch non-profit dedicated to combatting desertification and promoting sustainable environmental behaviors in southern Morocco

Rachid Berazougui

Modern Music Coordinator

Rachid is an accomplished musician who has toured internationally with his band Daraa Tribes. He manages the modern music aspects of Joudour Sahara programming

Habib Last Name


Habib is a local farmer who blends traditional farming techniques with 21st century permaculture. He manages local environmental efforts of Joudour Sahara


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

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.

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.

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

Play Video

peace through music