Diaspo #64: Youssef Mellouki, serving Morocco while in France

French-Moroccan national Youssef Mellouki has been living in France since 2010. While in Paris, he contributes to the development of his country. He created an association that helps disadvantaged Moroccan students.

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Youssef Mellouki, a Moroccan-French national living in Paris./Ph. DR

When he arrived in France in 2010, Youssef Mellouki did not plan to stay in the country for a long period but ended up living there for eight years. He settled down in Paris after finishing his Finance studies in Lyon.

«Initially, I wanted to return to Morocco as soon as possible but with time, my plans changed. There is a pleasant living environment in France», Mellouki told Yabiladi.  

«I am aware of the importance of participating to the development of my country, and that is what I do through a humanitarian association I am heading».

Youssef Mellouki

In September 2015, Youssef Mellouki founded «Choisir d’Agir», a French association which focuses on the education of young children in developing countries, through the construction of adapted facilities, the financing of teachers and proving school supplies. The NGO has managed to build a school in Azilal.

«I find it much more interesting to act from abroad to help needy people in Morocco. Through this association I am convinced that every penny I make should be invested in Morocco’s priority, which is education».

Youssef Mellouki

The 34-year-old man travels to Morocco once every six weeks to monitor the projects of his association.

Interested in humanitarian work

The association has a team of 25 people and around 1 200 members and donors. Youssef Mellouki and his team are currently working on the launching an online platform to connect homeless people and those who are ready to host them in France. This project has been dubbed «Les lits du cœur».

The platform is expected to be operational in November. Mellouki also travels to Senegal to participate to a new plan, hoping to help villagers’ access clean and safe drinking water. «We are studying the possibility of building wells in several villages that are sorely lacking water», he said.

Away from his association, Youssef Mellouki is interested in photography. «Basically, I did a lot of computer graphics», he said, adding that he «was never really interested in photography until the day [he] accidentally bought a camera».

«I think we can convey a lot of messages through photography», he said. Then came the video, which allowed him to shoot three documentaries. The last one is called «Un Marocain chez les réfugiés syriens», shot in the north of Jordan, in the Zaatari camp.

«I left for three weeks to try to film the living conditions there, in the desert, and the difficulties faced by the refugees», he recalled.

Youssef Mellouki cherishes the memory of the endless beaches of Dakhla, where he lived until the age of 14 : «The beaches of Dakhla are the first ones I have seen. At the time, I found them trivial, I thought they were nothing extraordinary. The first beach I saw, other than in Dakhla, was Mehdia, in the Kenitra area. There, I was shocked by the black sand, the street vendors everywhere, the crowd, the car parks all around ... It took me a long time to realize that the Dakhla beaches were actually the most beautiful and exceptional ones in the country».

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