Lots of proud students and their families at the TALIM/FTAM (Fondation Tanger al Medina) ceremony to award diplomas to the women of the Arabic literacy program.
Capping the end of the academic year, women received recognition for their work learning written Arabic, as well as cooking, sewing, and foreign languages (French and English). The range in ages is surprising: we've had enrolees as young as 15, and one of our star students is in her 84th year!
Though the Arabic course can last up to a maximum of four years, some of our women never want to leave. Some stay on through the foreign language, sewing and cooking classes, the latter recently spinning off a budding cooperative which has been providing catering services to TALIM and other customers.
Recently we reported on the IBM Corporate Volunteers who advised FTAM on its organization and future directions. It was clear in that exercise that the Arabic literacy program is a core activity, not just of FTAM, but of TALIM as well.
In the past several years, we have encouraged students of the summer CLS Arabic program to spend time with the women of our literacy program, putting American students learning Arabic together with Moroccan women learning how to read and write Arabic.
The mix has always been fulfilling – and fun, as seen by the picture at right (courtesy CLS staffer Saddam Issa). What better way to learn a bit of darija than through a Moroccan recipe? And for the women of our literacy program, greater ease in interacting with foreigners can be a boon for those who seek employment opportunities.
Gerald Loftus; photos by TALIM Associate Director Yhtimad Bouziane.