Morocco buried a great human rights activist on Sunday, September 25, a humanist who dedicated her life to single women and has sacrificed tremendously at the expense of her time and her private life “to preserve their dignity, to bring justice to children without identity and to raise the voice of this category”.
The testimonies are unanimous to attest to the courage of this exceptional woman who raised one of the most silent taboos of Moroccan society, namely that of single mothers.
The fabulous story of Aïcha Ech-Chenna began in the early 80s, when, as a young volunteer in the Child Protection League, the League for the Fight against Tuberculosis and family planning, she was moved to tears by the story of a young single mother forced to abandon her baby.
“She was breastfeeding her baby, and when they came to take it away from her arms, the milk gushed out, splashing on her clothes… The baby was crying, and she was crying too…”. Aïcha Ech-Chenna has never forgotten this painful image, even though she lived fulfilled, surrounded by her children.
This is what made her decide to found, in 1985, the association Solidarité Féminine to lend assistance to destitute single women and victims of rape. It is the first association in Morocco to offer training, and literacy classes to financially empower single mothers rejected by their families and society. Since then, long-term action has been carried out to prevent the abandonment of the child while working for the socio-economic rehabilitation of the mother.
For Aicha Ech-chenna, the path has been long and winding. But with her loud voice, her intimate convictions, and her desire to change the mentalities and living conditions of single women, she succeeded in her mission.
Several distinctions have crowned her commitment, such as the Opus Prize (United States), the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Humanism, the Donna dell’anno Prize (Italy), and the Monte-Carlo Woman of the Year International Prize.
All her life, Aicha Ech-Chenna has worked to give a dignified and decent life to single mothers. Despite difficulties, obstacles, and death threats, she succeeded in giving a home, a future, and a purpose in life to all these women who were singled out.
Rest in peace, great lady.