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EMPOWERED WOMEN EMPOWER WOMEN

Victoria Burns
HAF Intern, UVA Student

This week was spent with young Moroccan women at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech in the Imagine Women’s Empowerment workshop. The attendees were mainly University of Virginia students, me, and 5-7 Marrakech University students, and it was very powerful to witness the evolution of the confidence and comfort level among the girls. When we started the week, our group was doing the majority of the speaking and participating while many of the other girls were still getting adjusted to the topics, ideas and the people around them; this can be attributed to the fact that we have been together for a month, while they were thrown into this group of people who have already developed a connection. They became increasingly comfortable as our similarities in thought and ideas were revealed, and our small groups of mixed composition created bonds and friendships among our different groups.

These bonds grew to a point where we were thought of as friends and were invited into a group chat and scheduled meet ups. The quietest girl became the most outspoken, and we all connected through dance during the segment about our bodies, spirituality and sexuality. As women I feel as if this workshop made it easier for us to connect with each other through the way that we experience similar struggles and limits globally. I like that limiting beliefs and self-responsibility and awareness were the main emphasis, and this was facilitated through guided visualization and targeted questions. I spoke to many girls who spoke about how much they needed to change about themselves, but they already are better than they were the day before and there are other factors that contribute to their circumstances. Although I have been empowered through my upbringing, environment, mindset and opportunities, I could still get something out of the activities and discussions we were having. We designed our lives based on what qualities we would need to achieve it and what we would need to be doing to work towards our goals; this helped me to reevaluate the amount of effort that I am putting into myself to achieve my dreams.

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