Berber Duchess Foundation

About Us

Mohammed Ouzammou and Nicky strongly believe the women of Sub-Saharan Africa have the power to build a positive future for themselves and their families, and the Berber Duchess Foundation can help them achieve this.

Although they are united in their leadership of the foundation, Mohammed and Nicky have very different backgrounds. Changemaker Mohammed is involved in Morocco’s voluntary sector, including social work and youth clubs, and is an ambassador of social initiatives around the world. He brings an organic local knowledge to the foundation, and a clear understanding of how and where to help those in need.

Meanwhile Nicky leads a dynamic women’s corporate network and has been championing women in business for more than a decade. Her passion and expertise in empowering women is reflected in her support of local communities in Morocco since 2016. Both Mohammed and Nicky are equally invested in the foundation and its driving force, which is empowering women in the land they love.

More about Mohammed

Born to a nomadic family in Morocco’s Tafilalt Oasis, Mohammed Ouzammou was weaned on goat’s milk and reared among sheep and camels. He grew up in the nomadic lifestyle of his ancestors, and spoke the Berber language, Tamazight. His clothes were hand-sewn by his mother and his main meal of the day would often be dates. His family was always on the move in search of grass for their animals.

Mohammed’s life changed when his grandfather sold some of the family’s livestock to fund his education. Leaving the nomadic life behind, Mohammed was sent to school in a town far from his family. Although he was fascinated by urban life, Mohammed struggled to fit in. He was shamed by his peers for his ragged clothes and difficulty communicating in a strange, new language. So he returned to his family who enrolled him in a Tamazight school instead. Here Mohammed thrived, and went on to achieve a Baccalaureate in Life and Earth Science, and a degree in Economics and Management.

His early experiences of feeling like an outsider and struggling to fit in have fuelled Mohammed’s passion to help others who face similar challenges. He is committed to inspiring and driving change, and follows his belief that small things make all the difference.

More about Nicky

Nicky is a nomad of a very different kind. She has travelled to more than 70 countries and lived in six of them, and her life so far has been a rollicking adventure that has spun from filming white water rafting in her native New Zealand to milking cows in Israel. She now runs a boutique riad called Berber Duchess in Marrakesh.

Driving Nicky’s passion for travel and adventure is an enduring love of people. Her career spans enterprising ventures in hospitality aged 15 to working as Vice President Human Resources in a Fortune 200 company, where she manages and motivates 60,000 employees across 21 countries. Every step of Nicky’s journey has been towards guiding and empowering people to live a better life, and she is particularly committed to supporting women.

Nicky’s challenges have a different flavour to those faced by Mohammed too, and include stepping up as a female leader in a male-dominated corporate environment and surviving cancer. Nicky is greatly inspired by The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, who once told her “passion persuades”. She brings to the Berber Duchess Foundation a gritty, courageous spirit and a persuasive passion to support and empower the women of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Worth Getting Out Of Bed For

Hikes and Lunch in the High Atlas Mountains, Horse and Camel riding, Hot Air ballooning on Sunrise, Jemaa El-Fnaa souks, Walking Tours of the Red City, Massages & Hammans, Golf Lessons, Ourika Valley, 4x4WD tours to the Berber Villages, Lunch in the Agafay Desert, Jardin Marjorelle, Day trips to Essaouria, Taragnout and an unforgettable overnight trip to Sahara Desert.

We organise bespoke travel itineraries that promise unforgetable memories.

‘People don’t take trips –  trips take people’
John Steinbeck