This week we took part in the four day IMAGINE workshop at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, with a small group of Moroccan students. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the sessions at the beginning, since there were so many different experiences in the room. Having led and participated in women’s empowerment workshops at the University of Virginia, I had some ideas of how I thought things would go. I was eager to see how the programs would compare or overlap.
When HAF’s empowerment facilitator Ibtissam began the session, she began to talk about our personal journeys. For the first time in a while, I had to ask myself specific questions about my goals and visions in a personal and professional realm. I often think about my goals and future, however the thoughts merely float in my head for a few moments and flee. Having to write down and spend a dedicated amount of time answering questions about those visions assisted in creating a more clear picture of my journey and goals. Often times this process seems daunting, because there might not be a right answer, or any answer for that matter. However, being in a room of other driven, motivated, and supportive women made the process easy. We all had individual goals and steps to take, but working through the uncertainty together made the exercises comfortable.
Everyone has a different definition of empowerment, and as much as it may be taught through the program, it can only be absorbed through personal beliefs and experiences. I appreciated how the IMAGINE program fosters any goal, no matter the scale or context. It truly fostered organic growth. In addition, we talked about topics that are taboo universally. Being in a safe space to discuss our personal journeys was truly empowering and unforgettable. I admire HAF’s facilitators Fatima Zahra, Ibtissam, and Amina so much for being passionate about their work and lifting others so that they can also find fulfillment in their visions.