HERE YOU CAN READ HOW 2013’S PARTICIPANTS FROM MOROCCO LOOK BACK ON THE 1ST EDITION OF TRANSFORMERS!
FIVE TRANSFORMERS, ONE FAMILY.
by Chaimae, Majdouline, Marike, Salim and Youness (Morocco)
Before the Transformer! project
Before the Transformer Project all the participants from Morocco were to some extend active in art or in activism, but we didn’t know each other much. Through the selection procedure and the preparation of the project in Morocco we got to know each other better. Over several cups of coffee and tea it turned out that all of us did very interesting things that we were delighted to learn about. Majdouline has been active in women’s rights for years, Chaimae, a student of psychology does theater, Salim studies and works to find funds for art projects and Youness has made several documentaries. Now all this active and creative energy has come together.
During the Transformer! project
Before the project, some of us had already traveled the world and others had never been outside of Morocco. To all of us the project has meant an introduction to a new world: Berlin first of all, with its art and activism. But also to Cairo, to the world of Moroccan girls living in Amsterdam, to Istanbul, to the struggle against discrimination in Paris and to the world of activism.
During the two-week training we all learned different things. The content of the training course was rich and diverse and each benefited from it depending on their own needs and background. For Chaimae it was an exciting first time in Europe and she has seen that a different world is possible. Youness has extended his network tremendously into Germany and was finally able to get first-hand information from Paris, Cairo and Istanbul. This turned out to be often different from what you read about these countries. Majdouline enjoyed mostly the theater workshops and the creative campaigning workshop. The theater workshops for her was the first encounter of this theatrical, physical and sometimes emotional way of dealing with social issues. And the creative campaigning was a stimulating and inspiring new way of looking at the subject that she studies in Morocco. For Marike just the sheer experience taught a lot of things that cannot be named. One of the things that she has learned from this experience is the importance of working ‘slow’; pacing down the Dutch rhythm and taking time for communication and getting to know each other.
After the Transformer! project
The last day of the training in Berlin we brainstormed on a project that we would like to do together. We thought of organizing a festival together. We have decided, instead of organizing our own festival, to unite our energy and put all of it into an existing festival that Youness was already part of and that could use some help. This festival is called Festival de Résistance et d’Alternatives (Festival for resistance and alternatives). This festival will take place the 21st, the 22nd and the 23rd of February in Casablanca. We work with the concept of a village. What kind of places do we find in a village and what alternatives can we offer for them? For example, in the restaurant, someone will cook vegetarian food, in the mosque there will be a discussion about freedom of religion and spirituality, in the school there will be theater, et cetera. Marike has joined Youness and his friends in the organization. Majdouline will give a workshop on women’s rights. Chaimae will assist Marike in the theater workshop that she will give during the festival and Salim will help with finding funds.
Besides this very concrete output, the project has had a result that is at least as valuable and a bit less concrete. During the Transformer! Project in Berlin we have gotten to know people from different countries, but we have also gotten to know each other better. In the aftermath of the project we have profited from these connections in different ways. For Youness it was the first time in Europe, he has met so many people in Berlin that he could fly back a month later, to fill four weeks with screenings of his documentary My Mekhzen and Me in Germany. The connections and the trust between us has become so strong that we have also started helping each other with our projects. Through the connections with the 20 February movement Marike’s project of Theater of the Oppressed in Rabat has become a very lively and strong project. Many people of the 20 February movement now carry this project and the group is still growing. Marike is full-time active with theater now. Salim has offered his help to this project as well. Majdouline’s Womanchoufouch and Theater of the Oppressed Rabat now have a strong connection with a lot of solidarity and people of Womanchoufouch and TO Rabat have helped each other concretely in several projects. And Chaimae has had the chance to write her first play and see it acted out because of the theater group.
Five transformers, one family.
Chaimae, Majdouline, Marike, Salim and Youness.