A Little Fun Goes a Long Way Educating Girls in Morocco
Simo Elalj, based in Paris, wanted to help educate girls in his home country of Morocco. He found a way to have fun and impact at once, selling plastic toy goats to raise money for the nonprofit Education for All Morocco.
Khadija Id Ahmed Ouali, one of the girls educated, in part, by the proceeds from Simo’s program, joined us from Morocco for a conversation about the impact of the program on her life.
Be sure to watch the full interview in the video player at the top of this article.
Khadija Id Ahmed Ouali
Interview with Simo Elalj, the Founder of YouGoatMe.
The following is the pre-interview with Simo Elalj. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Pending incorporation, using a for-profit entity to operate at the moment.
Revenue model: YouGoatMe raise funds for the charity Education for All Morocco by selling goat related merchandises and toys (mainly Gabi the Goat). Each purchase on the website empowers a girl in Morocco and provides her with 3 days of housing and education. We also offer a way to directly donate to the non-profit without having to purchase a product.
Scale: Gabi the Goat is our main product and aim to raise awareness about girls education in emerging countries. She got +2000 followers on the social media since its launch in October 2018. We sold +50 units of the toy in a month and expect to sell our first batch of 3000 units by the end of the year. As for the charity we partnered with (EFA Morocco), they have supported over 350 girls since 2008 (they started very small with only 10 girls). They have seen over 60 girls enrolling at University since 2013.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Very few girls from the rural communities of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco get the opportunity to continue their education beyond primary school.
Secondary schools, mostly several miles away in larger towns, are not accessible to these girls because:
– Their parents cannot afford to pay for transport or lodgings
– The journey to the secondary schools can be dangerous
– Their parents do not feel safe sending their daughters away from home to the existing facilities
This means that in these rural areas up to 83% of women are illiterate. So instead of these girls following their dreams of a better future they end up with a life spent at home. A life of domestic chores, early marriage and having children.
YouGoatMe was founded to help give these girls the education they deserve.
I wanted to find a way to drive the attention from the entertainment/silliness to raise awareness (and funds) for girls’ education in rural areas in Morocco. Gabi the Goat is our friendly character that makes funny videos and is on a mission on doing social good. Each purchase of Gabi the Goat and its merchandise provide a girl with 3 days of housing and education.
There are benefits much broader than that, as each girl inspires changing attitudes amongst her sisters, families and the wider communities they come from which will change an entire generation.
Education for All Morocco: efamorocco.org
More about YouGoatMe:
YouGoatMe raise money for (and increase awareness of) the charity Education For All Morocco through goat merchandise and general silliness.
Gabi the Goat is its product hero, and is the ultimate squawking goat toy that offers endless hours of wacky fun and has a positive social impact. Each purchase you make empowers a girl in Morocco and provides her with 3 days of housing and education.
We’ve partnered with the non-profit Education For All Morocco to help build and run high-quality boarding houses near secondary schools. These boarding houses are provided free to girls aged 12-18 who wouldn’t usually be able to afford an education.
Simo Elalj’s bio:
Simo is the founder of YouGoatMe, a project that is helping provide girls in rural Morocco with a better education though goat silliness.
He emigrated from Morocco to France for his undergraduate and masters’ schooling, paid for from the profits of his first two websites. Simo completed his master’s degree in computer science as a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley.
Notably, he developed the website RefurbMe at the age of 16, which provides an easy way to shop and monitor Apple refurbished products (http://www.refurb.me/). RefurbMe is now facilitating +$3M yearly revenues for its merchants, help reduce worldwide electronic waste and provide him income to focus on social good ventures.
Simo is currently based between San Francisco and Paris and can be reached via https://www.linkedin.com/in/elalj/
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