The HAF team, including Fatima-Zahra, Amina, Ibtissam, Gal and Abd-El Jalil, visited the Village of Talatan in the Ourika Valley. We have been working in this mountain region a lot, and it is always exciting to see it changing in front of our eyes. The weather is indeed changing too. The beautiful mountains are covered with snow. The people of Morocco’s prayers for rain were answered; the mountains are white.
The road to Talatan is very long. It was one of the remote villages that we started working with their women. It was the first time we are meeting these women, in order to have a participatory assessment of their particular needs, and their knowledge. Forty women, of various ages (18 to over 60), took part in our workshop, which was very successful.
Amina started the discussion with mapping what are the most important things they have in their lives, followed by what they wish to change in their environment. Following that, we continued with discussing specifically their needs as women, their knowledge about their rights, and the future they wish to see for their children. Many of the women indicated that one of the most needed initiatives in their area is a secondary school for their children.
Moreover, they wish to have a college for women, to learn how to read and write, and how to calculate numbers, since almost all women in their village are illiterate. The second most important thing they said they wish to change, is to have cellular reception in their village. The women said that it feels as if the Moroccan state neglected them, since they are located in a remote area. « Other villages around get cellular reception and we do not; if a woman gives birth, we cannot inform anyone, and no one can assist her. » Off course, the third thing was having a hospital, or any other medical service closer to their village, or an easier road to travel outside of the village. In addition, they shared their skills, sewing for example, and we thought together how they could use these skills in any future project.
Since we did not want to travel in the mountains at dark, we had to finish the workshop, though it felt as if we could discuss with the women for hours more. We had sweet mint tea, said goodbye, knowing that it is only the beginning of the process, and for sure we will come back and together we will create a more positive and independent future for these women.