Marrakech-based nonprofit Amal is helping to empower women through training them in culinary skills.
Amal is focused on uplifting women in Morocco from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the trainees face social stigma, rejection or disability that impedes their ability to earn a living to support themselves and their children.
Trainees start a six-month training programme to learn all aspects of work in a professional kitchen in order to secure a job. Each class of 30 women learn the preparation of both Moroccan and international food. At the end of their training, the female trainees gain financial independence through their skilled work in restaurants, hotels, riads and private homes.
Amal’s restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, school lunch, and cooking classes daily to the public. These activities help fund all the work that Amal does.
Amal was founded in 2012 by American-Moroccan Nora Fitzgerald Belahcen, as a response to the difficulties faced by many women from disadvantaged backgrounds including widows, divorced or single mothers, orphans, women who have worked as child maids, and women who have had little or no education.
What began as a hopeful idea with a few women baking and selling pastries has now turned into a structured organisation with two training centres – the first of which opened in Guéliz in 2013, followed by a second centre in Targa in 2016.
Image Source: Amal
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com