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Published on Nov 3, 2009
Aïcha Ech Channa is something of an icon in Morocco when it comes to human and civil rights for single mothers and their children. For more than 30 years, she has been their defender and public spokesperson.
In 1985, Ech Channa founded the Association Solidarité Féminine in Casablanca to provide services for the unmarried and their children. She started in a basement and now operates three day-care centers and training schools, two restaurants, four kiosks and a hammam (fitness center and spa).
More than 50 women receive training every year in cooking, baking, sewing and accounting. Participants are also provided daily child care, counseling and medical treatment.
As a Muslim, Ech Channa is inspired by a sense of justice rooted in the value systems of all religions. For too long, she says, single mothers have been stigmatized, had their babies taken away. The baby belongs with the mother, and we have hundreds of cases as evidence that this can work.