To donate to Morocco, click here.

Amal is located just about 50km from the epicenter of the Sep 9thearthquake that reduced villages to rubble. Nora and her staff quickly responded by making and distributing 13,500 meals, 50 tents, 24 solar lights, and $6,000-worth of food staples in just the first 6 days following the quake. Some of the Amal staff were sleeping outdoors themselves because their homes weren’t safe, yet they showed up each day ready to cook thousands of meals for people who were even worse off. And in the affected villages, “the people… have such beautiful smiles. You can feel their gratitude just to be alive. People are gathering together, cooking together, sharing a little happiness amidst all the destruction.” Love and beauty can be found even amongst so much tragedy!

Moving forward, Amal has chosen to focus their efforts on a cluster of 25 villages very close to the epicenter of the earthquake. They will work with community organizers to identify the most pressing needs as they unfold. For example, the Ministry of Education decided to move 6000 children from the entire affected region to the closest cities. There are about 300 students from the 25 villages Amal is working with who were moved to a boarding school in Marrakesh. They showed up with next to nothing, as most of their belongings were lost in the rubble and they had very little to begin with. Now they are in a new school setting, far from their families, in a big city. While the government has a budget for supporting them, it was inadequate. The children need blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, soap, shampoo, detergent to wash clothes, sanitary pads, clothing and shoes! Amal will do their best to fill in the gaps.

Another plan is to implement “Dignity Kitchens” which they hope to build together with local residents, following their guidance to ensure they will be adopted and useful. These will be communal kitchens where women can take turns cooking for the entire community, with Amal helping to supply the kitchens with bulk food periodically over the next 6 months.

We invite you to help shoulder the burden these families are facing by giving to Amal’s relief efforts.

To give specifically for earthquake relief, CLICK HERE


In Morocco, there are many women born into difficult circumstances – women who are orphaned, widowed, divorced, handicapped, or are single mothers. Few doors are open to these women, and in some cases, they are stigmatized. Life for them can be quite desperate.
Nora Fitzgerald used to pass one such woman each day as she walked her daughter to school. The woman sat begging with her young children, and Nora saw in her a mirror to her own life. “Her children were the same age as my own, but she was struggling to make 2-3 dollars a day to keep them alive. My heart broke, and I couldn’t NOT do something,” says Nora. As Nora pondered how to help that woman, and others like her, to become financially independent, the idea to teach her how to cook and bake took hold. Eventually Amal was conceived and founded – a non-profit restaurant serving as a training center for disadvantaged women. After six months of training the women are placed in jobs in restaurants, hotels, riads (traditional bed-and-breakfast establishments), and private homes.

Three years later a second training center was opened, this time focused on catering and cooking classes. The second center allowed them to expand the number of women they could serve. 30 women now receive skills training and job placement with each 6-month course, with over 200 graduated as of September 2018. Amal is truly changing lives and giving hope to desperately needy women, and the basic program is almost totally funded by restaurant and catering sales. The restaurant has become a popular eatery with locals and visitors alike, who flock there to support the “Amal Champions” as Nora calls them, as well as savor the tasty delicacies they prepare such as couscous, chicken tajine with preserved lemons, and their famous mint lemonade.

However, Nora and the Amal team are yearning to help even more women, aware that even their greatest efforts leave a great many women still living in dire circumstances. The training program receives over 100 applications for every 30 spots, as women have heard about it by word-of-mouth and witnessed its transformational effect on the lives of others. Amal has also recently started several smaller business off-shoots: a small café at a local language school run by several deaf students trained at Amal, and a university campus café run by a combination of Amal graduates and young women with Down Syndrome. There are even fewer opportunities for handicapped women and Amal wants to show positive cases of employing them when literally no other establishment will take the risk.

A partnership with Global Pearls will allow Amal to experiment and expand in new directions. Amal means “hope”, and hope is growing amongst the disenfranchised women of Marrakech.

To donate to Morocco, click here.


Apr 2022: A deaf family gives thanks for a Ramadan food basket

Jul 2020: Food relief during Covid pandemic

Dec 2019: Amal trainees express their hearts at graduation


Nov 2017: Marrakech[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]