The “Children’s Desert” is one of the finest initiatives that Hyundai España carries out among its many solidarity actions. After two years of forced interruption due to the pandemic, the Korean brand was able to resume this adventure which takes place in Morocco, and, given its importance, this year its general manager, Leopoldo Satrústegui, did not want to let the opportunity to take part and accompany the caravan of 25 cars which traveled more than 2,000 kilometers across North Africa.
Hyundai was represented on the expedition by all the models of its 4×4 range: KONA, TUCSON and SANTA FE, as well as the new STARIA minivan, which debuted in the desert with surprising results. And he did it outside his usual Easter dates, which were modified for the end of summer, so the heat was one of the main protagonists of an edition that had water like common thread, a very rare commodity in remote populations of the desert.
The course of this sixteenth edition of the Children’s Desert began by the sea, in the Caves of Hercules, near Tangier, a place where, according to legend, Hercules rested one night before performing one of his twelve labours. A cave inside which you can see the sea through an opening that has a shape similar to the map of Africa.
Continuing with the theme of water, en route to the desert, a lake was visited in the Atlas Mountains, over 2,000 meters above sea level. Once in the south of Morocco, oases were visited, orchards in the middle of nowhere thanks to the water, and one of the great solidarity actions of the trip was the inauguration of a series of wells at Kankimia, a small town in the middle of nowhere. .
Thanks to the initiative led by the Hyundai dealer network “Water in the Desert”, the money was collected to bring water to all the houses in the village, providing them with fresh water wells, pumps, solar panels, pipes, tank, etc. Everything necessary so that the inhabitants of this small nomadic population can have this basic necessity, both for themselves and for their animals. The “Water in the Desert” project was conceived in early 2020 and had not been inaugurated until now, although the wells have been active since then.
This project was joined in 2022 by the new initiative “Bicycles for all”, which aims to improve the mobility of children in small desert villages. Throughout the year, the local associations which collaborate with “Children’s Desert”, without whose help it would be impossible to manage the actions of solidarity, will look for small schools whose pupils live far away.
Many children find it difficult to go to school because their home is several kilometers away and they have no means of transport to get to school every day, so in most cases they have to walk. Thanks to this Hyundai Dealer Network project, they will receive a bicycle to go to school. In addition, and thanks to an initiative of the RACE, these children will receive a reflective vest that will allow them to be better seen during their night travels, thus improving their safety.
This year, all kinds of routes have been covered, including the one that ended in the town of Ouzina, which was accessed through a complicated sandy area, which added a spicy touch to the route. In addition, to avoid the hottest hours of the day, the departure was later, so that the arrival in Ouzina was at night. It was quite an experience to see the whole caravan driving through the darkness of the desert.
Leopoldo Satrústegui, general manager of Hyundai Motor España, said that “Hyundai has always been a company that has always shown solidarity, as evidenced by the fact that in 2004, when companies were not yet talking about these things, Hyundai was already supporting the poorest of the Moroccan desert, especially children”. Leopoldo Satrústegui “would also like to thank the network of Hyundai dealers for their contribution to the Children’s Desert through the various actions carried out to raise funds in order to be able to carry out the various actions undertaken in the last editions, such as such as the construction of schools, water wells with their respective electrical installations or the supply of bicycles to promote the mobility of children”. In short, “companies must give back to society what society gives them,” he added.
In addition to the deliveries to schools and associations made by the organizers of the trip, one of the most important works of solidarity which “Le Désert des Enfants” leaves in the region, this is the work carried out by the opticians of the Alain Afflelou Foundation. This year, six opticians accompanied the caravan, as well as a local person from the Foundation, traveling in one of the STARIA minivans, which is one of the most anticipated vehicles of the trip.
This year more than 700 health check-ups have been carried out with the local population, children and adults, of whom more than 500 will need glasses, which will be given in the coming months by the Désert association for children to the local associations which have managed the work of the opticians.