Shared by: ElGhali – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: June 24, 2015
The Nissae al Khair (“Good Women ”) Cooperative from outside of Mejjat, Morocco was initiated by a group of enterprising Amazigh Berber women seeking to increase economic opportunities, help provide for their families, and preserve important aspects of Amazigh cultural heritage.
Today, 40 women work in the cooperative’s workshop, creating traditional Amazigh woven textiles. Women of all ages work together to produce strikingly colorful patterns inspired by nature, unique to their tradition.
The people of this village have lived in their village since migrating there over 300 years ago. They are an agricultural community highly dependant on farming and local weather conditions. Recent droughts have made farming difficult, forcing many villagers to move to nearby big cities to look for work. The enterprising women of Nissae al Khair, however, saw an opportunity to help provide for their families, provide work locally, and remain home while doing it. They turned to what they knew best, an intimate knowledge of Amazigh traditional weaving and embroidery. In this way, they could produce beautiful works of Amazigh art, share some of their cultural heritage, and carry on the skills passed down to them.
After some initial setbacks, the women connected with a local CorpsAfrica/Maroc volunteer in the village who helped advise them on organization and marketing. Now the women of Nissae al Khair are able to share their skills with audiences in major cities such as Marrakech. Their ambition is high and they are eager to share their love of Amazighculture even wider.