Fondation Helga Heidrich SOS Animaux
and Sanctuary

Mobile: +212(0)633-027943



Internationaler Förderverein d.
Fondation Helga Heidrich SOS Tiersch.
IBAN: DE39 250800200561400400



by Made in Marrakech

Located about twenty kilometres from Marrakech, on the road to Ouarzazate ( old refuge), Helga Heidrich takes care of sick or abandoned animals. We visited him a few days before International Animal Rights Day. Our reporter fell under the spell.

For 15 years, Helga has dedicated her life to the abused animals of Morocco. Originally from Hanover, she landed a long time ago on the Tangier coast, before moving to Marrakech, where she created the Helga Heidrich SOS Animals Foundation.


It all started with the adoption of a mule. Helga rented him land so that he could flourish freely in a natural space, far from roads and carts. Today, the mule is no longer alone, it has been followed by more than thirty equines, mules, horses, donkeys and even a pony.

In addition to these few dozen horses, there are also 7 goats, a camel, 8 peacocks, 15 ducks, 2 geese, 45 rabbits, 62 pigeons, 7 parrots from Gabon, 28 parakeets, 5 monkeys, 23 cats and 85 dogs! There is also a sheep, one of the last representatives of its species in Morocco, after the great Eid celebration. There were even wild boars, and according to Helga, they are excellent football players, more docile than they appear. It is a true “Noah’s Ark”, since as in religious writings, all these beasts were saved from a cruel fate. No floods, but beaten dogs, mistreated and malnourished horses, exhausted donkeys, sick, wounded or abandoned animals, they all bear the marks of a past full of suffering. Take for example this donkey with a broken phalanx that its cruel master used to work on its stump, or this dog named skeleton due to its extraordinary physiognomy. From now on, they all aspire to a better future in the hands of their benefactor.


Each month, it costs more than 60,000 Dhs, just to pay for water and animal feed, 15,000 Dhs for veterinary care, 8,500 Dhs for staff, and despite all these charges, the foundation still finds a way to buy back injured animals. Because if some are collected or donated, Helga cannot help rescuing an animal. So if she meets a donkey at the end of the journey or a horse with apparent dimensions, she buys it, at her own expense. Once, she told us, she got so angry that when faced with a coachman who was abusing her donkey, she could not help but do the same to it.

Despite the support and help of some sponsors, such as Brigitte Bardot or the Manoush Paris boutique, she finds it difficult to keep her head above water. A few years ago, she managed the Spa at the Tropicanna Hotel, which ensured that she could keep the foundation running at a minimum. After the hotel closed in 2007, the situation worsened and resources decreased.

Moreover, because Helga never feels she is doing enough, she is creating a new refuge in Agafay, facing the royal estate. It took him two years and the support of the Royal Palace in Rabat to obtain the building permit. Everything being only a question of means, the refuge is gradually advancing, but remains far from being finished. It would need nearly 200,000 Dhs to complete this project. Notice to donors!

If Helga has managed to devote her life to animals, can we not devote 600 Dhs per year, or 50 Dhs per month, to become a member of the foundation and thus help all these dominated species? If money does not bring happiness to these animals, Helga’s caresses and good feelings are enough, but do not feed them.