By Bouchra Zine
To realize cooperative YAMNA’s hope of starting literacy classes, the HAF Family Literacy in Beni Mellal-Khenifra team conducted a four-day IMAGINE empowerment workshop in Zaouiat Cheikh commune, Beni Mellal province, as the first step towards the big change.
The leader of YAMNA, social activist Itou, created the agricultural cooperative with her family in 2015. Itou was so ambitious to start her own cooperative, but she wasn’t sure of its success. That is why she preferred having only her relatives as members. After one year and because of her hard work, Itou started selling her co-op’s products nationally. Social work’s love and compassion for women’s circumstances pushed Itou to include many other women in her cooperative to grow to 18 members.
Cooperative YAMNA’s main activities are making food products from grains and collecting the aromatic herbs in the region. The hard work and the quest for renewal led the cooperative to obtain national and international support from governmental and non-governmental agencies. Now, more than 30 persons earn money from the co-op, ensuring the sustenance of several families.
YAMNA’s members had benefited from many other workshops. But, the IMAGINE workshop was the first of its kind to be organized in Zaouiat Cheikh. It was their first time meditating, drawing, sharing thoughts publically and dreaming aloud. That’s why women of YAMNA co-op were so excited to discover more in the four days. When it came to sharing experiences, some participants expressed themselves by drawing, and others preferred talking aloud, but tears were some women’s answers.
Most women take on big responsibilities for their houses and with their children. That’s why they are always obliged to work more to earn a good living, and they forget to take care of their souls and bodies. Some of them have adjusted to obeying others’ orders, and they forget that they also have the right to share their opinions. So, the importance of the IMAGINE workshop was to remind women of their bodies and give them space to express their feelings and share their ideas and thoughts.
Now, YAMNA’s members are more powerful, positive and motivated than before. They learned to give themselves value first and then think about others. They learned to take care of their bodies and souls. Also, they understood that changing situations starts with education. That’s why they had already suggested a young educated lady to become their literacy instructor. In addition, Mr, Ahmed Melouki, Pacha of Zaouiat Cheikh, welcomed the HAF Family Literacy team, and he offered to give the cooperative members a classroom in the sociocultural center to receive their literacy instruction.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the High Atlas Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.