“I am giving an art session for single mothers”, my friend said. I immediately knew I needed to be there.
“100% Mamans” was born of a desire to protect and give a chance to women pregnant outside of marriage. If you are not married and you get pregnant what happens is very simple; you hide the growing belly as long as possible because as soon as your family discovers it, you are pretty sure they will kick you out of the house with nothing. If you are about to deliver your baby, the hospitals might not even look at you. If your baby survives, it will have no official name, so no access to school, to work, to healthcare… that baby doesn’t exist in the system and the mother is a shame.
In the sewing classes, cooking classes, jewelry making classes and art sessions, my eyes saw ladies of different ages, most of them were a little shy but very sweet, welcoming, and most of all doing everything they can to build a future and cast away the fear that is so obvious.
My session with them was very simple, we taught them to fold little paper boats. Their paper boats will become a part of a big sculpture that will be exposed here in Tangier in May. For an hour or so, their minds are away from the tremendous pressure they live to concentrate on one fold at a time.
To be a part… They just have been rejected, first by men who don’t want to take part in their lives and the life of their child, rejected with disdain from their moms, their dads, their brothers and sisters, crossed off from all possibilities to get a job, ejected out in the streets to beg for food or to really become prostitutes… and now, they are invited to be a part of a community that believes they can define their own path and believes they can offer something good to their kids.
I felt I could learn and be inspired by all these women, the ones that are teaming up to offer juridic services, sanitary services, shelter and education, and the women that are taking that decision to live another day against the stream. I am planning on going back to be with them and live something with them. I hope I can bring some joy, but I know I will receive a lesson of courage.
– Miss Isabel