Literacy for Women and Young Girls in Casablanca

For about fifty years, our Adult Training Center (CFA) has been educating young girls and women who have never attended school or who did not go far in their schooling and now have the desire to improve their reading and writing skills. Since these women have a strong will and thirst for learning, in addition to the educational program, we offer them conferences to provide accurate information and rekindle their zest for life and self-esteem. In this spirit, the director, Sister Claire Hantouche, asked one of our teachers, Ms. Selma SEBTI (a psychologist), to develop the theme of self-confidence and self-esteem for this very vulnerable group because, as the saying goes, “ignorance kills.”

On May 23, 2024, Ms. Selma invited them to participate in a brainstorming session to express what they understand about this topic regarding themselves, how they are perceived by others (dialogue with the outside world), and their inner dialogue, meaning looking at themselves honestly. Some shared their thoughts; testimonies and tears intermingled as some, who previously had no concept of self-esteem, were able to rise from the depths of “the well” during difficult times. Meanwhile, the majority, not knowing what to do, had been overwhelmed by society’s judgments and perceptions, which had plunged them into deep distress. To this day, these women live in discomfort, insecurity, trauma, inaction, lack of confidence, and love for themselves and others, with a fear of criticism.

After the outpouring of tears and sobs from some of the learners, Ms. Selma encouraged them to learn to appreciate themselves, not to give up, and to learn to value and appreciate others as well. It is a process to be approached step by step, like a child climbing the stairs, as it is a long-term endeavor. To achieve this, Ms. Selma gave them three practical pieces of advice:

  1. Always have positive thoughts.
  2. Set achievable goals.
  3. Self-affirmation (e.g., “I am capable… and I deserve better”)—this phrase was repeated in turn by the learners with pride.

Gratefully thanking the organizers, our learners left the room with smiles on their faces.

Sr. Marie Christine DABIRE, fmm

Anfa Community, Morocco