“As long as I am alive there is no power on earth that can stop my daughters from finishing their schooling.” Fadma Ait Mouha, 31 years old, was born in Zawiya Ahansal and lives in the region’s central village of Aguddim. She married Hmad when she was 16 years old and has now been married for over 15 years. Fadma gave birth to five children; two of her babies died. Her three surviving children are Hassna (14), Nejma (10) and Driss (5). Fadma’s father died when she was young and was therefore her parents’ only child, a rare situation in rural Morocco where it is normal for families to have between five and eight children. Her mom married again and now lives in Tisalmit, a remote agricultural hamlet that lies a three-hour walk from Aguddim. Because she never went to school all of her ambitions are centered on her children’s’ future. She hopes that they will finish their education and get steady jobs. “As long as I am alive there is no power on earth that can stop my daughters from finishing their schooling.” With her husband’s support she will strive to improve her children’s lives in spite of poverty. Her daughter’s will be eligible from the support of ACF’s girls scholarship program that will launch in June 2012 in partnership with the Iqra Fund and Association SMNID. Fadma’s family owns the Ait Sidi Mouha igherm (fortified granary and saint’s house) in Aguddim. In 2011, ACF and Montana State University architecture students documented the building for restoration. The rammed earth building is over three centuries old and holds a significant place in the history of Zawiya Ahansal acting as one of the lodges where pilgrims stay during their visit to the region’s shrine every year. She hopes that ACF and association SMNID can work with them to restore it and save a piece of their cultural identity. “I am optimistic for the future of Zawiya Ahansal,” said Fadma commenting on the changes in the region that she has noticed over the past half decade. “I can’t imagine any door that can't be opened with the degree of foreign investments and programs Zawiya is seeing thanks to the Atlas Cultural Foundation and its partners.”
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