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“IMAGINE” WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT FOUR-DAY WORKSHOP AT CADI AYYAD UNIVERSITY (WITH UCA AND UVA WOMEN STUDENTS)

Camelia Harkousse
HAF Intern

This week was all about women empowerment, we had a women’s workshop for four days and it was my first time to experience it. I did not know what to expect and how it will turn out…
The workshop was led by HAF empowerment trainers – Amina El Hajjami, Fatima Zahra Laaribi and Ibtissam Niri. I had the chance to see them do a wonderful job and still learn more about what they do for HAF. The workshop tackled seven key areas of our lives: emotions, relationships, work, body, money, sexuality and spirituality.
Some concepts were harder to understand and talk about than others and it was apparent how differently Moroccans and Americans view certain things due to cultural backgrounds. It was admirable to see the UVA interns trying to understand and put themselves in our shoes as Moroccans. Even though I am Moroccan, I still learned a great deal from the other Moroccan university students that joined us. Seeing how challenging was for some of them to move from small villages to the cosmopolitan city of Marrakech to study and pursue their studies and dreams. Listening to their stories during this workshop changed my perspectives…

During the four days of the workshop, participants dreamed, imagined, described and drew to express themselves, danced, stood in a circle and shared their respective final thoughts within the group while holding candles…The circle was a perfect way to end our four days together; the women of the group farewelled each other with big hugs and kisses.

The workshop’s past four days had a strange effect on me. I felt as if I were friends with the fellow participants for many years. We were able to know each other’s personal stories, experiences and perspectives. Each and everyone’s tales conveyed and taught lessons and motivated new insights and ideas. Sharing has tremendous positive effects on personal beliefs and should bring and lead to change.

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