The past few days, I have met many inspiring women from Morocco that have boldly fought for what they believe in, despite the tremendous challenges they faced along the way.
In the Association de Lutte Contre le Sida (ALCS), I met Dr. Goufrani who told us about the man who had judged her and her clinic for condoning what he believed to be transgressions against the Islamic creeds. He was one of many devout Muslims that believed the centre was propagating immoral behaviour. Her powerful response will remain with me as I navigate through my interests in health promotion and advocacy. She reminded the man that it was not her job to teach about morals to her patients, but to reduce harm and promote good health, as expected of a health professional. As a technician for health, she was seeking to give people tools for reduced harm in what they do. I really admired her strength in the face of adversity and her persistence in diligently continuing the program, despite discouragements from others.
We also met Aicha Ech Channa, the founder of Solidarite feminine, the first Moroccan association to be created for the support of unwed mothers. When she was talking to us about her experiences with meeting unwed mothers, I could see how her heart was broken for these people, and the passion that had driven her to build such an extraordinary organization to help those who need it most. Despite the challenges along the way, including being threatened to be stoned by devout Muslims, she continued her work and have changed thousands of lives to this day.
These women have been pushing the archaic boundaries set by traditions in the past, which have oppressed many Moroccans, including unwed mothers and those suffering from HIV and AIDS. Women like Dr. Goufrani and Aicha Ech Channa are pioneers in the improvement of the quality of life for those who have historically been marginalized and oppressed by society. These women were often subject to adversity and rejection from the community themselves, but endured through these hardships to do the best that they could for those who had it the worst. Their boldness, compassion, and persistence in achieving their goals will always be ingrained in me as I continue in my pursuit of health promotion and advocacy.