YES Programs



Hidden Voices

Nada in a YES t shirt pointing at a slideshow which reads Staying with a Host Family

By: Nada Erraji (YES 2022-2023, Morocco, placed by PAX in Pasco, WA)

My name is Nada Erraji. I’m 16 and a YES alumna from the 2022-2023 program year. I have a unique background, being both Amazigh (Berber) and from a small town in southern Morocco, called Es-Semara. When I went to the U.S., I was not only representing Morocco, but also my Amazigh roots, with its unique culture and language. I can’t talk about my background with mentioning both sides because they both defined me as a person.

Nada and a large group of high schoolers in front of a mural

In my program year, I was the only YES student from the south of Morocco. I felt a sense of responsibility to represent my region and share it with the people that I met. When I applied for the YES program, I had to take a 12-hour bus ride and a 5-hour train ride just to participate in the testing.

I believe that there are a lot of students just like me in the south of Morocco who can thrive on the YES program but might not be aware of this opportunity. I want these voices to join me in representing our region and to acknowledge the change they can bring to the world! My main goal as a YES alumna is to help people like me to realize their potential.

When we returned to school this fall, I held two information sessions to promote the YES program, share my experience as a YES student, and explain the application process to 60 high school students in total. I answered all the questions I wished someone had answered for me when I was applying. I am so happy that many of the attendees were eager to apply, and I can’t wait to hold more events that will uplift the voices of southern Morocco youth!