As part of the celebration of the World Refugee Day (on the 20th of June) and the World Refugee Week (16th to 21st June 2019), the Fondation Orient-Occident, in partnership with the UNHCR and its other strategic partners, organized numerous activities and events.
The World Refugee Day/Week is an opportunity to pay tribute to refugees, to celebrate their courage and resilience. It is also an opportunity to promote their rights and advance the cause of refugees around the world. The awareness of the people and institutions of each refugee-hosting country of their situation, their difficulties and of the challenges of safe and orderly migration and integration is necessary for any improvement in this field. The organization of the World Refugee Day celebration is a key moment in the calendar of organizations working for refugees in Morocco. This event, mobilizing both the general public and major national and international institutions, brings together this audience around the issue of refugees through fun, artistic, educational, cultural or sports activities.
But let’s look back at this week and re-experience every single moment:
SUNDAY 16 JUNE 2019
-Fun and artistic activities for children
The opening of the events for Refugee Week begins with a day dedicated to children and education. Indeed, in the morning, in the garden of the Foundation, inflatable games, songs and dance are offered to children, to arouse their curiosity. A dozen children have fun, and the laughter sounds in the offices!
-Coaching workshop “positive parenting”
This workshop was facilitated by the coach Mahamed Baidada, who proposed to the parents a formation to acquire the bases of a benevolent education and without violence. It was about learning a style focused on the well-being of the child by adopting behaviors that meet the needs of him/her. 20 parents were eager to listen, to put into practice the coach’s advices in their everyday life.
MONDAY 19 JUNE 2019
-Masterclass “Let’s cook!”
On Monday, June 17th, the restaurant of the Foundation was transformed in the stage for a cooking and tasting workshop. From 10am to 3pm, the participants learnt how to cook two dishes, one Congolese and the other Yemeni, under the guidance of the two chefs Leah and Abdellatif Saleh. After this exchange the participants but also the chefs tasted the dishes prepared with care: so delicious!
-The African Market: exhibition and sale of products
Monday, June 17th saw the opening of the new African market at the Fondation Orient-Occident of Rabat! The African market is part of the Start-ups project, and aims at creating a space dedicated to refugee women to sell their own merchandise and make their living with dignity.
-Movie projection: “Amour dans le pays de l’asile”
On Monday, June 12, at 6 pm in the FOO Library, there has been the screening of the film “Amour dans le pays de l’asile“, in the presence of the director Mohamed Saadi. This 15-minute short film recounts the love story of Akanda and Sabila, two young African immigrants who seek their way in Morocco. The main message that came out of this film is that anyone can have a talent, in this case in theater. Many refugees and migrants attended the screening of the film and were able to ask the director some questions. The Ministry in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs, main financier of the short film, and the UNHCR were also present during the screening.
TUESDAY 18 JUNE 2019
-Interactive workshop around the project “Vivre Ensemble sans discrimination” (Living together without discrimination)
On Tuesday the Foundation welcomed 30 young Moroccans and refugees during the workshop “Vivre Ensemble sans discrimination” (Living together without discrimination). Thus, the participants reflected together on the concepts of interaction and cohabitation. This workshop was organized thanks to the support of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation, the UNHCR, the association Vivre Ensemble and the DAFI program.
-Theater improvisation workshop
The theatrical improvisation workshop took place on June 18, in the heart of the Foundation garden. This workshop, animated by Ismail Alaou, allowed the refugees of the Foundation to discover the world of theater, through the practice of various exercises. The 11 actors quickly understood the expectations of the coach and gave life to different characters, taking their role very seriously!
–Contemporary Dance Workshop
This dance class took place on the 18th of June in the theater of the Foundation from 3 to 6 pm. The 15 beneficiaries took advantage of the artistic experience of Nezhza Rondali to learn the basics of improvisation in dance. The teacher appealed to their imagination to free their body movements on a lively rhythm. The exercises, initially done in groups, allowed to develop a cohesion between the participants. Then, in the last part, Nazha exchanged views with the apprentice dancers to collect their feedbacks and feelings regarding the activity, especially in terms of sensations.
–First edition of the Foot-Amitié (Friendship) tournament
On Friday, June 14th, on the grounds of the new park Hilton, the first football tournament was held as part of World Refugee Week. 4 teams were present: FOO, UNHCR, refugees, and the Ministry of Migration. The teams were divided into 2 playoff games, the winners of each game competing for the final and the losers disputing the standings. The overall atmosphere was excellent, with moments of exchange and conviviality shared all in a fairplay spirit. Congratulations to all teams! On June 20 at the National Library, the winners received medals as a reward. The final of the tournament took place on 18 June and saw the FOO fight against the HCR, with a decisive victory of the Foundation (8-1). On the other side, the refugees’ team won against the Ministry team with a final score of 3-1.
-Exhibition “Portraits and History” of Hajar El Khatabi
Through her drawings, Hajar highlights the life paths, journeys and stories of refugees living in Morocco. It is a way of honoring those people who have suffered so much hardship. Of the 8 people who were drawn, 4 have benefited from the resettlement program and are now in Canada. On Tuesday 18 June from 18h to 20h, the FOO hosted the opening of the Moroccan artist Hajar El Khatabi. Entitled “Portraits and Histories”, this exhibition consists of 8 sketches of portraits of refugees and migrants benefiting from the programs of the Foundation. To achieve them, Hajar conducted individual interviews with each of them, then with the help of Nourredine, social worker, she transcribed their journey in a booklet distributed during the event. The opening took place in the Foundation Library. For the occasion, a cocktail was planned with drinks and cakes. Hajar was also present to explain her work and to chat with the visitors (about forty).
WEDNESDAY 19 JUNE 2019
On the morning of Wednesday, June 19th, a perfume of ink embellished the gardens of the Foundation: it is the calligraphy workshop that begins. The Moroccan artist Wafae Zaoui, a fashion designer and calligraphy enthusiast, came to share her knowledge with refugees, but also with some Japanese who came to visit the Foundation. Her workshop was very popular, and all persons were busy reproducing, with ink on paper, the models distributed by the artist. Some tests are necessary in order to master the technique, but many are finally able to write their names. With concentration and application, the result is bluffing!
-Spectacle by the children of the nursery
Wednesday morning, it was the children’s turn to animate the Foundation with a dance show and songs played/sung on stage organized by Najat. In front of their parents and the beneficiaries of the FOO, the children of the nursery, dressed in color for the occasion, presented a very touching show on the big stage of the garden. The children were eager to show off their talent, and the audience did not fail to encourage them with smiles and applause!
-Show by the association Chabab El Ghad
The association Chabab El Ghad, in collaboration with the FOO, presented on Wednesday, in the garden of the Foundation, a show of 15 minutes on a delicate theme in Morocco: the search for employment among young Moroccans. Through a theatrical show, the artists described the world of a young Moroccan freshly graduated who is struggling to find a job and finds himself plunged into a descent into hell. The message was well received by the public, who was moved by the representation. The Foundation hopes to be able to rework again with Chabab El Ghad to give them the opportunity to value their talents and make their art known to the general public!
–Music and dance concert by Tintin
On Wednesday night, the garden of the Foundation became a dancefloor! The beneficiaries and neighborhood of Yacoub El Mansour attended the dance and percussion show orchestrated by Tintin, professional dancer and former beneficiary of the FOO. Tintin set up a troupe of 12 dancers who swayed on the stage for one hour to the rhythm of African drumming. After months of choreographic work and dozens of rehearsals, the concert was really great! The spectators were able to appreciate the costumes of the artists, the coordination of the dancers as well as the furious rhythm of the drums. At least 100 people, young and old, were in the garden for this successful event.
THURSDAY 20 JUNE 2019
-Refugees Got Talent
The 3rd edition of Refugees Got Talent, in partnership with the UNHCR and the Ministry in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs, took place in the fabulous National Library on June 20, 2019, date of the World Refugee Day. On this occasion, the exhibition hall was dedicated to the works of the finalist refugee artists: wood carvings, sand paintings, exhibition of photographs and drawings … The exhibitors presented their works and were able to distribute business cards in order to create potential connections. Among the finalists on stage, there were people of all nationalities who performed 5-minute shows in various categories: comedy, parade, magic, music and dance. Let’s not forget the refugees from the “kitchen” category who delighted the participants during the buffet on the terrace of the National Library. The Refugees Got Talent show followed numerous rehearsals carried by the finalist refugees, some of whom have benefited from coachings from professionals. At the end of the show, the finalists received their deserved diplomas, as well as a voucher worth 500DH. More than a hundred people attended the show, including the main partners and organizers, the Ministry in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs and the UNHCR, but other institutional and non-governmental organizations were also present for the event.
FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2019
The Refugee Week ended with the DAFI seminar which took place on Friday June 21st at the Ibis Hotel in Rabat. The event brought the DAFI students as well as the FOO and UNHCR DAFI teams and institutional representatives together. All the actors congratulated the DAFI students for their efforts and supported the need to reinforce the Sustainable Development Objective 4 “Quality Education”. Finally, certificates of achievement have been awarded to students who are at the end of their course and who will leave the DAFI program.