The Women’s House
Oum El Banine has a home for the women (in french la foyer), where they can live before and after giving birth. It is a two-room apartment situated in the district of Essalam in Agadir. There is room for 6-7 women and it is always full. The women usually come during the last month of the pregnancy. After giving birth they can stay another 40 days. In la foyer the women get economic, medical and psychological help. If needed, they can also get help in the administrative and legal domains.
The purpose is, as far as possible, to make la foyer feel like a home for the women. Since they have been forced to leave their families, the other pregnant women often become their new security and support. Oum El Banine is trying and succeeding to create a safe environment for the women and their babies. After giving birth the women are prepared for a life as single parents. The women are informed about their basic rights and their confidences are strengthened. There is also practical help available. Some women can benefit from education preparing for work. They all get help in the search for a work and an apartment. They can hire a room on their own or together with other single mothers – sharing costs and responsibility. Many of them can get an employment in some of the numerous fish factories in Agadir, in a restaurant kitchen or as housekeepers in families. These are not highly qualified works – it is difficult to get, even for those who have an education – but it makes it possible for the women to support themselves and their children. Oum El Banine make sure that the employments are serious. And while working, the mothers can leave their babies in Oum El Banine’s daycare centre.
In some cases Oum El Banine can be a link between the women and their families. Oum El Banine initiates the contact and can sometimes send a representative to visit the families – trying to talk to them and make them accept their daughter’s situation. Some of the women can never go home again, but in some cases Oum El Banine is succeeding and the women can be reintegrated in their families.