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Giving Back to the World We Travel: Supporting Rural Women in Morocco

Posted on 9/14/2021 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

You can see firsthand the progress that has been made on the interior of Imik Simik’s new building in the video above.

By Barbara Sirigos, Director, Grand Circle Foundation

The Imik Simik Women’s Center of Ait Ben Haddou was started in 2012 by 13 women. The women came together to support one another while promoting education and skills training in this traditionally male-dominated rural area, which is a four hours’ drive from Marrakech. Partnership with Grand Circle Foundation has enabled them to expand their pastry and couscous production along with creating sewing and embroidery workshops.

We firmly believe in working with communities and local organizations, especially those led by women, to help them become self-sufficient. Due to government restrictions, cultural beliefs, and more, this is not always easy to accomplish, as we quickly learned in Morocco. And after more than two years of negotiations with local community leaders, the women of Imik Simik finally received permission, land rights, and the approval to build a new women’s center.

As 2018 ended, we were thrilled to fund the first payment so the construction could begin, and a year later the exteriors of the structure were completed. With the onset of Covid, however, all construction halted and we await the slow reopening of Morocco to allow the interiors to be completed so the women can move into the building.

Funding from Grand Circle Foundation purchased professional grade kitchen equipment such as a fridge, stove and refrigerated display case, along with professional training in pastry techniques thus allowing the women to expand production and increase their income.

Throughout 2019 we received steady reports on the progress of the construction and as the year closed the full exterior was up. As plans were made to begin the interior work such as electrical and plumbing, the world came to a stop with the outbreak of the pandemic.

We anxiously await the slow and safe reopening of Morocco so that work can continue and these hard working ladies can expand their workshops in the new building.

Visit the Imik Simik Women’s Association for Rural Development and see how they’ve improved the livelihood of their community during Morocco Sahara Odyssey.

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