Ajyal Film Festival 2024

All Films

School of Hope

Ajyal Competition, Ajyal at Vox

Mohamed El Aboudi / Feature Documentary / Finland, France, Morocco, Qatar / 2020 / 88 min / Colour / DCP
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Environmental, Politics, Social Issues, Youth, Identity, Creative Documentary
MENA Premiere


In the vast expanse of desert, East of Atlas Mountains in Morocco, seasonal rain and snow once supported livestock, but now the drought seems to never end. Hardly a blade of grass can be seen, and families travel miles on foot to get water from a muddy hole in the ground. Yet the children willingly ride donkeys and bicycles or walk for miles across rocks to a “school of hope” built of clay. Following both the students and the teachers in the Oulad Boukais Tribe’s community school for over three years, ‘School of Hope’ shows students Mohamed, Miloud, Fatima, and their classmates, responding with childish glee to the school’s altruistic young teacher, Mohamed.
Each child faces individual obstacles—supporting their ageing parents; avoiding restrictions from relatives based on traditional gender roles—while their young teacher makes do in a house with no electricity or water. The Oulad Boukais Tribe is just one of many rural communities worldwide struggling to establish adequate schooling for their children. ‘School of Hope’ conveys the passion and commitment of the tribe in securing academic opportunities for their children, despite the roadblocks of their environment and the apparent indifference of their government in this intimate and charming portrait of optimism in the harshest of conditions.

About the Directors

Mohamed El Aboudi was born in Morroco and currently resides in Finland, where he was awarded in 2006 by the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in connection with the 10th anniversary of its multicultural services. His feature documentary, ‘Dance of Outlaws’, had its world premiere at Locarno International Film Festival, where it received the prize Premio Zonta Club Locarno. The film has also received several other prizes, including the Human Rights Award at DokuFest in Kosovo and Grand Prix of Mediterranean Issues at Primed in Marseille. Other works of Mr El Aboudi include the documentaries ‘Fight of Fate’ (2009) and Netizen Mo (2015).


Mohamed El Aboudi
Mohamed El Aboudi
Pertti Veijalainen, Hind Saih, Lamia Chraibi, Lamia Chraibi
Lizi Gelber, Florence Bresson, Mikko Sippola
Executive Producer
Jody Allen, Ruth Johnston, Rocky Collins, Leila Amran
Richard Horowitz, Andrew Silagy
Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen, Marita Hällfors., Päivi Kettunen
Lou Strömberg, Miki Brunou, Salla Hämäläinen
Production Company
Bellota Films
Bellota Films

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