In January 2018, FRÉ’s founders and a couple ambassadors had the opportunity to plant Argan trees in Morocco. During the trip, they visited with the women who harvest the Argan seeds at the Izourane co-op in Tidzi, Essaouira. It was from this visit that FRÉ’s founders decided they wanted to do more for these women than simply help them keep the Argan forest alive through their replanting efforts. They decided to partner with the High Atlas Foundation to help fund an empowerment workshop for the women. The Imagine Empowerment workshop took place this past June 2018.
Through FRÉ’s funding efforts, they raised enough money to help 30(!) women attend the workshop. The mission of the workshop was to to give the Izourane women a voice to discover their social and economic goals through self-reflection and inquiry. This was done through training sessions on the seven critical areas of a women’s life: emotions, relationships, sexuality, body, money, work, and spirituality. I was afforded the opportunity to ask a few questions of Fatima-Zahra, the woman who organized the workshop, and this is what she had to say:
What were your hopes for the women attending the workshop? And how did your results compare?
We were hoping the workshop from Izourane Ourgane would help these women find meaning and purpose in their lives, as well as to help them build liberated lives and have the ability to contribute to their community. We accomplished this by identifying individual goals and aspirations as well as helping the women to overcome hurt and pain. Most importantly, we helped these women to dig deep into their subconscious and build the techniques necessary to create the lives that they desire.
The result was that the women came together in the cooperative and talked about their inspirations and goals. They started focusing on possibilities and solutions, instead of putting their focus on their problems like: marketing, sales, earning money, and other personal problems, all of which created even more problems and drained their energies.
What is the most shocking thing you’ve discovered from the Moroccan women you’ve helped?
The most shocking thing I discovered was how sexuality issues are deeply rooted in Moroccan culture.
What is something you think could truly help to change the world and women’s lives?
I think the thing that could truly help change the world and women’s lives is education. If women have the chance to study, their family dynamics will change. When families change, communities and the nation also change. Empowerment first begins with education and literacy. Educating women will give them the agency to shape their own lives and futures.Thus, it will set them on a path to ultimately change the status quo.
If you had one dream for women worldwide, what would it be?
I dream that women around the world will have the freedom and the ability to make change and pursue their dreams.