By: Rikki Zagelbaum  | 

Yeshiva University Students Raise Nearly $19,000 for Morocco Earthquake Victims, Exceeding Goal 

Yeshiva University's Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership and students who participated in the Global Citizenship 2023 program in Morocco have raised nearly $19,000 in a fundraising campaign that was launched on Sep. 11. The campaign was started to help aid victims of the recent Morocco earthquake with the goal of raising $18,000. 

The money, mostly raised in the first five days of the campaign, will be sent to the High Atlas Mountains Foundation (HAF), which is raising $5 million to provide aid to the hundreds of thousands affected by the earthquake. As of publishing, they have raised close to one million.

More than 3,000 people died following a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred near Marrakech, Morocco, on Sep. 9. The deadliest to strike Morocco in over six decades, the earthquake affected an estimated 300,000 people. 

Yeshiva University has strong ties to Morocco, having visited in January with 31 students from the Sacks-Herenstein Center’s Global Citizenship 2023 program. 

Most of the trip, which also involved meeting with Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique (UM6P) students, was spent in and around Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, the region most impacted by the earthquake, Aliza Abrams Konig, senior program director of the Leadership Scholars at the Sacks-Herenstein Center, told The Commentator. “We feel strongly connected to the people of Morocco especially in the most devastated areas as we spent significant time there,” Konig said. “Many of the villages we visited are now reduced to rubble.”

The Sacks-Herenstein Center also hosted a Zoom meeting for YU and UM6P students on Sep. 14. Students recounted current and ongoing tragedies caused by the earthquake, including the deaths of classmates and professors. 

"We never could have expected something like this to happen," one female UM6P student said on the call. "We see other people in villages who have lost their families, their schools. They have lost everything." 

Nevertheless, the students expressed a sense of hope. They spoke about ways in which impacted citizens have taken the initiative to help, organizing fundraisers and offering stranded families food and shelter, while also explaining the need for a long term solution.

“In a few weeks the donations are going to stop, but these people will still be in need,” another student said. 

“[Our time in Morocco taught us] so much about the wonderful people that live there, the many Muslims who have dedicated their work to preserving Jewish historic sites as well as about the extreme poverty and challenges of those living in areas like the High Atlas Mountains," Konig told The Commentator. 

“The large majority of children living in the High Atlas Mountains go to schools where there is no running water, something that seems unimaginable to us. Now after the earthquake, the wells they relied on were destroyed. Every dollar we raise is going towards their rebuilding efforts. We hope that YU students will consider donating and helping the people of Morocco rebuild their homes and schools and return to their normal lives.”  


Photo Caption: YU students at a Moroccan outreach center during the Global Citizenship program in January

Photo Credit: Tovit Lipner