Faiza Hajji’s profession of faith

Don’t tell me one single woman can’t change the world. If I had thought so, nothing would, indeed, have changed. But I never stopped believing that I could do something, with my own means, to improve the situation of my region of origins.

Picture this : an isolated Moroccan region and city, Berkane, where plastic bags follow the wind’s breaths and fly among people, cars and donkeys. When you live the city you are struck by the emptiness of its countryside…at first sight! Since, when you have a closer look, you notice that it is far away from being empty. You go on and meet so many people, shepherds, children, men… The time is like frozen : nothing moves, everybody waits. For what? A taxi to go to the city, a bus to go to school, or a little sun to warm up after a cold morning. Just waiting outside because nothing happens at home.

Vieil homme à Douar el Mika

Actually you don’t really see women outside. They take care of the kids and of the house, cooking, cleaning up, weaving… When you come to know them, you realize their life has nothing to do with yours. You were the lucky one : born in Berkane in a family where girl’s education and independence was fundamental. Most of rural women in Eastern Morocco can’t read nor write. They barely went to school.

That’s when I got an idea : teach them how to weave alpha, a local plant, together with recycled plastic bags. Once graduated, I created the Association du Docteur Fatiha (ADF), from the name of my deceased mom, to empower women and fight for environmental protection. We gather rural women in cooperatives: they become a group which is trained and receives literacy courses. To provide them with the raw materials they need (i.e. plastic bags), ADF establishes collecting spots in the city and organizes awareness-raising campaigns in schools of the region. In that way, two issues are addressed in a raw, which creates a sound virtuous circle. This is for what I’ve been doing since 2008.

Formation des artisanes à Chouihiya centre

Formation des artisanes à Chouihiya centre

Today, it’s time for the association to step up. I want to build an innovative center, dedicated to promoting a local and green economy. It will be a place where hope is possible. For all those graduated and dynamic young people who can’t find a job and change country to try building a better future for themselves. For all those impoverished young people who have ambition but no means to envision a different future from their parents’. For every man and woman willing to contribute to the improvement of their life and their environment, or willing to act for their community.

For all those great people who need a little help to kick off their project or take charge of their own future, I want to build this place.

Find out more about Faiza’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/an-awesome-way-to-re-take-a-polluted-city-in-morocco/ 

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