Archive | Giving Back

Back to School with Education For All Morocco

With the girls of Dar Asni

With the girls of Dar Asni

While on the calendar we still have almost two more week of summer, the past two weeks officially marked “back to school” and the end of summer for my family and me. This is always a sad time for me, as I tearfully send my older children off to college and watch as my seventh grader develops his increasing independence from me. This year was no different, but I recognize that its an indulgence to be sad over a child’s parting for school when even the most basic education is not afforded to many children, especially girls, around the world.

“Right now, more than 62 million girls worldwide are not in school,” Michelle Obama declared after a recent trip to Liberia and Morocco to initiate “Let Girls Learn” when delivering a speech on the crisis of girls education.

“Sometimes the issue is resources: their families simply can’t afford the school fees; or the nearest school is hours away; or the school nearby doesn’t have adequate bathroom facilities for girls, so they’re forced to stay home during their menstrual cycles, and they wind up falling behind and dropping out.

But often the root of the problem is really about attitudes and beliefs: families and communities simply don’t think girls are worthy of an education, and they choose to marry them off as teenagers instead, often forcing them to start having children when they’re basically still children themselves.”

In her speech The First Lady detailed the program’s plans to support the Moroccan government to establish dormitories for girls so that the girls from the countryside may go to school. This is an important initiative, but as she states in her speech, “governments alone cannot solve this problem.”

That is why Kahina Giving Beauty proudly supports Education For All Morocco, a Non Government Organization which addresses the problem by building and running free and safe boarding homes for girls so they can continue their education beyond the age of 12.  Education for All was founded in 2009 with a single boarding home.  The program now boasts five boarding homes, housing approximately 250 girls.  Now, 18 girls from the program are attending University, the first girls in their villages to do so.  We have been supporters of the organization since its early days, sponsoring ten girls and helping to keep the houses running.

“EFA’s solution is to bring the girls to the schools, an approach which is beginning to change the lives of Berber girls in a way that could transform the region’s future. Their boarding houses, which are run solely by Berber women, provide accommodation, healthy food, support with homework and extra French and English lessons. On average, the pass rate for all academic years is 97%.”  — The Guardian, June 2016

The following is excerpted from Michelle’s speech:

I had the privilege of meeting Ralphina and Rihab earlier this week when I traveled to Liberia and Morocco to highlight our global girls’ education crisis — the fact that right now, more than 62 million girls worldwide are not in school. This is such a heartbreaking loss, because these girls are so bright and so hungry to learn — and like Ralphina and Rihab, they have such big dreams for themselves. These girls are no less smart or deserving of an education than my own daughters — or any of our sons and daughters. The only thing that separates them from our children is geography and luck.

 

The girls I met in Morocco and Liberia want to be doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers. One of them wants to run for office so she can fight for women’s rights and combat climate change. Another hopes to open her own auto shop to teach women about cars so they can be more independent.

But we know that when we give these girls the chance to learn, they will seize it. They’ll walk for miles each day to school. They’ll study for hours every night by candlelight, determined to learn as much as they possibly can.

 We also know that educating girls doesn’t just transform their life prospects — it transforms the prospects of their families, communities, and nations as well. Studies show that girls who are educated earn higher salaries — 10 to 20 percent more for each additional year of secondary school — and sending more girls to school and into the workforce can boost an entire country’s GDP. Educated girls also marry later, have lower rates of infant and maternal mortality, and are more likely to immunize their children and less likely to contract malaria and HIV.

In Morocco we’ll be working closely with the Moroccan government to help transform high schools across the country, and we’ll be supporting new school dormitories to allow girls from rural areas to attend school far from home.

Large scale efforts like these are critically important, and will affect the lives of countless girls, but they’re simply not enough. Governments alone cannot solve this problem — not when we’re talking about a number like 62 million.

While I will always be sad to see my children leave, I am so thankful for the opportunities afforded them by living in the society we do – and I think about the mothers in Morocco who are sending their young girls away from home to go on and live a life they could only dream of.

Kahina Wins Madrid Award for Sustainability in the Premium and Luxury Sectors

Getting the IE award

I’ve just returned from Madrid where I had the extreme honor to be presented with the IE Award for Sustainability in the Premium and Luxury Sectors by Enrique Valera, General Director of Abadia Retuerta, one of the largest sustainable wineries in Spain. Kahina won in the Wellbeing, Beauty and Health category. The award, jointly organized by Fundación de Estudios e Investigaciones Superiores (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and IE Business School (Madrid, Spain), recognizes sustainability in privately owned luxury brands with attention given to best business practices, strategies, and innovations.

IE Award winners

I was humbled to be among this group of change makers in the fields of hospitality, fashion and jewelry. Other award winners and honorees include Looptworks, Campi Ya Kanzi, Gudren and Gudren, Petit H, Ethical Fashion Initiative, and Meche Correa.  The takeaway from IE Premium and Prestige Observatory Executive Director Marie Eugenia Giron is this: for luxury brands to speak to millennials, they must be authentic, provide value and experience.  Kahina scores points on all three!

With Pascal Moussard small

A true highlight was getting to spend time with the lovely Pascale Mussard, a sixth generation member of the Hermes family and founder of the brand’s sustainable offshoot Petit H. As she so eloquently stated, “I was given roots that go deep and wings to fly”.

Happy Earth Day! Kahina joins HAF to plant 5,000 trees in Morocco

 

Walnut tree seedlings planted by High Atlas Foundation. Photo by Heather Binns.

Walnut tree seedlings planted by High Atlas Foundation. Photo by Heather Binns.

 
Happy Earth Day! As a result of our campaign to raise money for the High Atlas Foundation’s “Trees For Life” initiative this month, we’ve succeeded in reaching our goal of raising the money to plant 5,000 trees! Thank you to all who supported us in our efforts.

The “Trees For Life” campaign is estimated to have lifted approximately 50,000 Moroccans out of poverty by by planting fruit trees to generate income and end their dependence on subsistence agriculture.

Here’s how it works: HAF has received land for the project from various organizations, including government agencies, local cooperatives, schools and women’s associations. Native tree species are planted in nurseries on the land and grown without the use of pesticides. Once the trees reach maturity, they are distributed to the surrounding population. Additionally, land management practices are put into place to prevent soil erosion and desertification, creating a simple program that ensures the longevity of Morocco’s people and environment.

To learn more about The High Atlas Foundation and its initiatives in Morocco, click here.

 

 

Photo by Heather Binns

Photo by Heather Binns

CHOOSE HOPE

girls of the Anti Atlas

Since founding Kahina Giving Beauty, I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to spend time amongst so many caring and loving communities of people in the remote villages of rural Morocco. The people I have met have been warm, generous and welcoming. I have been so inspired by them that I have been moved to try to convey their spirit of simplicity, gratitude and appreciation in the creation of Kahina, the brand.

I invite you to take a close look at the faces of each of these Berber girls from a small village in the South of Morocco. What I see is the indomitable spirit of young girls, joyful, exuberant, optimistic, much like the kids my own son goes to school with in New York City. The only difference is that the girls in New York expect bright careers doing what they choose – as lawyers, designers, artists, scientists, engineers or dancers, while these girls’ hopes can’t extend beyond getting a third grade education and marrying a boy from the neighboring village by the age of 18. A small bit of assistance and encouragement can make a world of difference in their lives, most importantly by allowing them to continue their schooling.

I believe in the right of these girls to live to their potential. I have hope that these girls and so many others like them around the world, given the chance, will make a difference – by taking control of their lives, shedding light on ignorance, and helping to shape the future of their country.

We live in a time of fear and despair. The way to crowd out hopelessness is by acting with love. Take action this holiday season by making a donation to a charity that supports your beliefs. I invite you to join us in making a contribution to a cause that is close to my heart, Education For All, Morocco.

About Education For All, Morocco

Very few girls from rural communities in Morocco have the opportunity to continue their education beyond primary school. Schools at the Middle and High School level, mostly several miles away in larger towns, are not accessible to them for two main reasons:

Their parents cannot afford to pay for lodging
Their parents do not have the confidence in existing facilities near the schools to entrust their daughters to be away from home

Education For All provides free room and board for these girls so that they may continue their education beyond the third grade.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.22.13 AM

Your contribution can make a big difference:
$76.00 can buy a uniform, sports shoes, school bag and school books for the year
$455.00 will buy a new computer for one of EFA’s study rooms
$1,213.00 will sponsor a girl for a whole year

“Because when you educate a girl, you educate a village,” Education for All, Morocco

Marry at Fifteen or Attend School: EFA provides solutions for girls in rural Morocco

Photo by Heather Binns

Photo by Heather Binns

As summer draws to an end and we prepare for “back-to-school”, it is easy to overlook what we often take for granted.  Education is a privilege not readily available to many of  the world’s girls, often due to an arduous commute.

In Morocco, adolescent girls living in remote villages are most likely to drop out of school around the age of twelve because of lack of access to middle and higher education in their immediate vicinities. Parents of teenaged girls are often unwilling to let them travel long distances away from home due to concerns for their safety and social restrictions.  With few options, girls in Morocco are often forced into early marriage. According to UNFPA, “In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18. One in nine is married under age 15.”

Kahina Giving Beauty is proud to support Education For All, Morocco, now opening its fifth boarding school for girls in the High Atlas Mountains. This means that an additional 40 girls can attend school beyond the fifth grade. The success rate that can be attributed to the free room and board provided by Education For All is impressive, with a 97% pass rate across all levels (12-18 years). There are now 18 graduates enrolled at university – the first in their villages to ever reach this level of education. Education for All is also able to support them with living grants so they can focus on their studies and pursue their future dreams.

To get a clearer picture of just what free room and board for these girls means, watch this especially moving UNESCO video and powerful documentary about a day in the life of Fatima, one of the EFA girls.  Without the help of Education For All, 15-year-old Fatima’s daily commute to school could take up to eight hours.  Her only other option would be marriage at a young age arranged by her parents.

Buy Sheep for Year of the Sheep!

Kahina Giving Beauty Raising Money to Buy Sheep

Happy Lunar New Year! To usher in the year of the sheep, we’re committing to buying some. For every bottle of argan oil purchased on givingbeauty.com from February 19th to March 18th, 2015, we’ll be donating 100% of sales to the purchase of sheep for the Berber women of our argan cooperative.

Why sheep?

  • their wool can be used to weave rugs for use at home or to sell at market
  • their milk provides food for families
  • if bred, offspring can be sold at market for a profit

Kahina did this initiative back in 2012 (above is Katharine with some of her donated sheep). Our goal this year is 15 sheep impacting 15 women.

Did you know? The Year of the Sheep is associated with goodwill and giving back. From a recent Well & Good article: “[The sheep] is considered to be the good Samaritan of the zodiac. Potentially, there will be more attention to the environment, and people will be more inclined to give back,” Wendell says. “[Sheep] are good-natured and sensitive to beauty and balance.”

Support our efforts. Shop Argan Oil now.

Kahina’s Year of Giving

Donating clothing in the Anti Atlas Mountains

Donating clothing in the Anti Atlas Mountains

2014, our fifth year in business, was a wonderful year for Kahina.  Once again, we saw strong growth as the demand for beautifully produced organic products increased around the world. It has been tremendously satisfying to see the company gain recognition, and one of the greatest rewards is in being able to provide increased assistance to the people of Morocco. Thanks to you, our customers, here are the programs we supported this past year:

• We were pleased to fund room and board for two more girls through Education For All, Morocco, so that they could continue their education through high school.
• Kahina raised money to purchase and plant 400 trees to be used in nurseries to support rural villages in the Southwest of Morocco as part of High Atlas Foundation’s (HAF) One Million Tree Campaign.
• We made additional donations to the High Atlas Foundation to deliver clean drinking water to a girls’ school in the High Atlas Mountains.
* Kahina purchased clothing for the women and children of the village of Ait Goh in the Anti Atlas mountains which was severely impacted by flooding in November, 2014.

Again, thank you for your support. We are looking forward to giving back even more in 2015 and will keep you updated with our efforts and results.

Wishing you a healthy and joyful new year,
Katharine L’heureux, founder

Kahina pledges assistance for those impacted by Moroccan flash flooding

Photo by gulf-times.com

Photo by Huffington Post

Severe flash floods in Morocco’s south over the weekend have left at least 40 dead and many more missing, according to reports from the Moroccan Red Crescent. The argan region near Agadir and the Anti-Atlas Mountains was heavily impacted. The torrential rains also destroyed hundreds of mud homes and damaged the countries’ infrastructure, closing one hundred roads, including six national highways. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and are otherwise affected by the devastation.

In the coming months, Kahina’s donations will be directed towards relief for our friends in the Anti-Atlas village of ait Goh, which was heavily impacted by the storm.

You can read more and provide additional support by visiting the website of the Moroccan Red Crescent which has responded to the emergency with more than 600 volunteers for the distribution of relief items such as blankets, mattresses, water purification and hygiene kits for 1,100 families.

Get Girls Back to School

Moroccan girls go to schoolGirls on their way into school

This September, 100% of every purchase of Kahina Argan Oil on givingbeauty.com goes to funding girls’ education so they can go BACK TO SCHOOL.

WHO: Girls in rural Morocco who otherwise would not be able to go to school past 3rd grade
WHY: Girls from rural areas of Morocco must travel to larger cities for access to education beyond basic elementary school. They need to be boarded, an expense that most families cannot afford – and conditions in government run housing are poor and unsafe. Education For All Morocco provides free, safe boarding homes for girls so they can continue their education. The organization, which was founded in 2007, has recently opened its fifth boarding home in the High Atlas region of Morocco. It costs approx. $2,000 to provide free food and board to each girl for one year. The organization is providing housing for approximately 100 girls.
HOW: We are donating 100% of sales (that’s $36 for 30 ml argan oil and $82 for the larger 100 ml size) of Kahina Argan Oil purchased on givingbeauty.com to Education for All Morocco.
WHEN: The entire month of September, 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit Education for All Morocco’s website HERE.

This is Kahina’s fourth year supporting EFAM and we could not be more thrilled to continue with your help this year.

Kahina throw rugs hand-loomed by the women of Kahina in Morocco


presenting the rug edited

In May of 2011, on a trip to visit my argan supplier in a remote village high in the Mid-Atlas Mountains, I was shown the weaving cooperative in the village, where the women who crack the nuts for our argan oil were learning to weave rugs as a way to make extra money. The following year, Kahina donated money to buy sheep in order that the women would have wool to use for their weaving. In 2013, on a return trip to the village, I was presented with a beautiful hand-loomed rug decorated with the Kahina circle and star graphic. My rug has lived beside my bed warming my feet and heart ever since.

Kahina Berber Rug

 

Earlier this year, I asked the women to weave me more rugs exactly like the one they presented to me three years ago. I am thrilled to now offer these exclusively on givingbeauty.com. SHOP NOW.

Each 2’ x 4’ rug is hand-loomed using virgin sheep’s wool and natural dyes by the Berber women of the weaving cooperatives who also do the work of cracking the nuts for our argan oil.

Free shipping in the US with orders over $75.