Across the country, Moroccans have displayed remarkable acts of unity to support the victims of the horrific earthquake that struck last week.
With approximately five million Moroccans living abroad, it is unsurprising that the Moroccan diaspora is also eager to do whatever they can to help their homeland. The diaspora is an active part of the kingdom’s economy, contributing $6.4 billion in remittances in the first 7 months of 2023.
It is in moments of tragedy that true support is shown. Moroccans globally are desperately trying to help the country on various scales, and Moroccan solidarity worldwide is rife.
Moroccans abroad have been heavily spreading awareness and donating to national and global organizations providing aid, including UNICEF, Islamic Relief, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, and Red Crescent organizations.
UK-based Moroccan-owned charity Syam already has a longstanding relationship with the rural Amazigh regions between Marrakech and Agadir, having helped 50 families before the earthquake.
Khawlah Abdullah, the chair of the charity, spoke with Morocco World, “I’ve been operating my charity for three years predominantly in Agadir. However, due to this emergency we have come here to Marrakech to provide aid and support.”
Syam launched their fundraiser on Saturday evening and it has already accumulated over $70,000.
“We are here on the ground in Morocco. We flew out from the UK to help those in need,” Khawlah detailed. “I have been liaising with the [London] town hall and the council, trying to arrange for containers to be sent. Our top priority is shelter, providing tents, mattresses, blankets.”
The British Moroccan Society (BMS) also has a longstanding relationship with many local organizations across Morocco.
BMS chairman Mike Wood announced on his fundraising page, “As the tragic situation unfolds we are working closely with our partner associations to quickly get funds into the hands of those dealing with the immediate aftermath.”
In just three days, the BMS campaign raised over $100,000, with the number continuing to increase.
Fundraising in whatever way possible
Other Moroccans abroad have also been setting up their own fundraisers.
Moroccans throughout Europe have been mobilizing on social media to raise awareness of the tragedy. The Moroccan diaspora is heavily reposting and sharing information across social media platforms, gaining further global attention.
Omayma Bouaziz is a first-generation UK national whose entire extended family lives in the Marrakech region. She explained why it was important for her to start fundraising for the victims of the earthquake.
“I have spent my childhood years running down those alleyways with my cousins who are now in the ruins of the medina, and I have visited those mountains where the earthquake has hit the most several times,” she told MWN.
Omayma explained how she felt during the immediate hours after the earthquake, “We had no way of knowing if our family was ok and if their house was still standing.”
“Hearing what the family went through and how it felt made us desperate to do something,” Omayma said, explaining why she has been personally urging people to donate to help support the victims.
Commenting on the response to her GoFundMe, she stated, “We have had many different people donate, some family and friends, some distant acquaintances whether from work or different walks of life, and some random people!”
“It has been amazing to see the diversity of people stand up and do something for our Moroccan family,” she added.
London High School Fulham Cross Girls has organized a bake sale this week where all proceeds will be donated to relief efforts in Morocco.
A spokesperson for the school revealed to MWN, “We have a large Moroccan student, and staff community and we support Morocco because it is a humanitarian cause.”
Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, which is at the heart of a large Moroccan community in London is providing spiritual and financial support to those affected.
The mosque confirmed that after every prayer this week, there would be an additional prayer for the deceased and survivors.
The mosque is also providing counseling services for the community who have been personally affected by the earthquake. They are also partnered with Islamic Relief and are organizing a fundraising event at the mosque to support victims.
The power of social media
In our modern age of social media, influencers also play a pivotal role in raising awareness. UK-based Moroccan influencer Nassima Iggoute, known as Beaussima, has posted non-stop since the earthquake, sharing crucial information.
In a recent interview with MWN she revealed, “As a Moroccan living in the UK, it has been heart-breaking seeing the events unfold in Morocco, especially as my family are based in Marrakech so this touches so close to home.”
Not physically being in Morocco has only incentivized the diaspora to increase their efforts.
“Over the last few days I have felt so much sadness and guilt that I am not there helping out our community which is why it is so important to find ways in which we can help, even from abroad,” Nassima said. “Solidarity and strength are two important pillars within Moroccans.”
She also spoke about the role social media plays, “Using social media platforms will be the fastest way of communicating with those outside of Morocco but also enabling Moroccan communities living abroad to organize aid to send to Morocco.”
“Social media, when used for good, can change lives in just one video,” she said.
Hanan Midan Kamouch, who was born and raised in Morocco but now lives between Spain and Ireland, has been posting heavily about the earthquake on her social media.
Speaking to MWN, Kamouch said, “We owe that to our land, even though we had to migrate for [a] better life, it is our duty as Moroccans to contribute to our people and our country, it is a motto in our national anthem.”
She has also been fundraising on a GoFundMe page to buy all the relief necessities, with a plan to visit the affected areas and directly help victims.
The diaspora has been able to mobilize people from different backgrounds to unite and support the Moroccan people. Kamouch emphasized this by stating that she has received support from both communities by living in two different European countries.
She concluded that no one will understand the gravity of the tragedy besides Moroccans.
“If we celebrated the World Cup together, we mourn together for this catastrophe that happened in our homeland,” she concluded