In continuation of the great work done already with Morocco by Pir Shabda and Tamam Kahn and having a couple of Moroccan mureeds in New York City this opened a window of interest on Morocco. I had lunch recently with the NY Moroccan consul Mr Beyyoudh Abderrahim and with Selima Raoui (who is in the Sufi Ruhaniat and who applies in her art work the writing of the name of Allah as a spiritual practice). Khadija and I have also met with Dr. Mokhtar Ghambou, Professor of Post Colonial & Anglophone Studies at Yale University and President of the American Moroccan Institute. The AMI as it is known just sponsored last month a conference on Moroccan Sufism at Columbia University with Ahmed Kostas.
I am preparing a trip to Morocco at the end of September and would like to share our interest (NY/NJ DHO & Sufi Ruhaniat family) in providing support to the ASMED project. This is one of the project that I would hope our DHO and also Sufi family would support. Another project concerns developing a spiritual community (Kankah) in Rabat with families that would adopt orphans children and with financial sponsorship from American and European families.
In return Morocco has much to offer including a long tradition and history in mysticism and sufism. For those on the spiritual journey what better way to continue our deepening in our studies while offering service and help. Since such programs are driven by our Moroccan sufi family members (Salima and Asmaa), supported in principle by the consul and the AMI, this shows great opportunity to unite our hearts between Morocco and the USA.
In addition we are working (Khadija Goforth and Jean Pierre in New York City with our local family) to have a major fund raising event in March 2006, for such effort, that will be called “Peace through the arts” and will bring great musicians, dancers and artists from Morocco. It will be a participatory event so we will share the dances of Universal Peace also.
ASMED (Association for Supporting Mothers and Children of the Desert) was founded in 2003 with the objectives of sustaining and helping mothers and children of the Moroccan desert.
The creation of the Association was initiated following the participation of two young women to the international female Rally that occurs annually in the dunes of the Moroccan Sahara – the “Rally des Gazelles” – 2001 Edition.
Mrs. Habida Dassouli, a Moroccan marketing advisor and Mrs. Muriel Hayet, a French teacher established in Morocco, witnessing the great precariousness of the populations of the area crossed by the Rally, especially women and children, their isolation, the inexistence of medical infrastructures, the almost total absence of primary health care and lack of hygiene and public heath, had the idea of a concrete and effective humanitarian action, setting up a Medical Caravan to try to concretely meet the elementary needs of the populations in the area. It is with the objectives of alleviating the difficulties and the harsh reality of the life of the women and children in these villages, that ASMED was created.
It is from their meeting with Pascal Valenti, a French entrepreneur also installed in Morocco, that ASMED will take form. The Association was officially founded in June 2002 and obtained its legal status of caritative organization in September 2002. There are certainly much caritatives associations in Morocco, but for these villages which do not appear on any geographical maps and which the only relevant statistics go back to 1992, assistance is scarce. Without this caravan these remote populations practically would not have access to medical care. Being too distant from everything and left to themselves, they are cut from the rest of the world.
From its beginning ASMED convened a voluntary medical team of specialized physicians and nurses, coordinated by Doctor Wafae Bisbis-Abounaidane, gynecologist / obstetrician and University professor. In the 2003 Caravan, the medical team was composed of eight Moroccans physicians and one professional nurse. They were all volunteers and gave intense effort and energy to the cause.
ASMED wants to continue its work. It also contemplates other complementary projects, all aiming at fighting medical precariousness and lack of assistance. ASMED wishes to work in a context of sustained development and perenniality. At medium or long term it even considers the distribution of medications, drugs and pharmacopoeias associated with the creation of health infrastructures, supply of drinkable water, socio-economic development through, for instance, micro credit for women’s projects, etc. It is an entire region that should not only survive, but also live.
Anybody interested in Morocco, contemplating a visit in the future on a reasonable budget, who would like to explore Moroccan Sufism or who could contribute money and/or medical expertise (I pray that some American doctors and nurses could volunteer time to this effort) to such project (ASMED) please contact me (I will send you the complete file on ASMED showing the list of medical equipment needed)
Love and blessings,
PS: ASMED file is in the files section on the DHO Listserv