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Miracles emerge from adversity

byBouchra Zine
onApril 22, 2024

For the past two years, I have worked as a HAF Family Literacy Program Coordinator in the Beni Mellal- Khenifra region. One of my main tasks was facilitating the IMAGINE workshops, and in this role, I encouraged women to share their perspectives, identify and work through challenges, and follow their dreams. Despite my experience in this field, it was challenging for me to learn that I would join HAF’s Psychosocial Empowerment Program. This program works with women affected by the September 2023 earthquake, and I knew the experience would be very different. After such a traumatic and life changing event, I was afraid to not succeed in helping these women process their loss and begin their journey to find strength and hope.

My first workshop as a Psychosocial Empowerment Facilitator was in Imi N’Tala village, Anougal commune, Al Haouz province. This village was one of the most affected by the earthquake, with 87 people losing their lives, 35 of them children. Each of the 28 women attending the workshop had lost at least one family member. Every home was damaged, with families now living in temporary shelters as they waited for the rebuilding of their village. After such loss, how could the community possibly find a new normal?

After we arrived in the village and met the workshop participants, I felt courageous and ready to begin. I recognized a deep need for these women to know they were not alone. All of their stories were tearful and painful. However, there was one story that left me speechless with its pain and hope.Two days before the earthquake, Badia and her twin daughters traveled to Imi N’Tala to visit her family. Badia was so happy to see her mother and siblings. “I didn’t know that my happiness to see my mother would be worth burying my daughters,” Badia recounted tearfully. Attending all four days of the workshop, Badia was one of the most disciplined participants. She interacted with all the topics discussed, laughing and crying as she processed her grief. Badia shared that she had felt hopeless since the earthquake, and the workshop had been a significant help. “Thank you so much for thinking about us. We received many blankets, food, and shelters. But, this is the first time someone thought about our souls,” she said.

I deeply believe that Allah won't take something from anyone without giving him something better. Badia felt she didn't have the right to smile again until a miracle happened. Badia´s reward for being patient and strong is in her belly. Badia is pregnant. At first this was difficult for her to accept. Badia feared she had no love or care left to give to a new baby. She was afraid to lose him too. But thanks to the workshop and our professional team, including our psychologist, Badia is stronger and more powerful now. “I lost two girls and I thought that I would stay alone forever. Now, I believe that Allah loves me and that there is always light after each long dark night.”

At the end of this workshop, all the participants were full of hope. Reflecting on the stories shared, Malika, another workshop participant, said, “Badia’s story reminds us to always keep hope and that better days are yet to come.” After working with these women, I feel that I gained greater confidence to conduct more workshops; trying my best to help heal a woman’s pain and work toward recovery.