- HASSAN MASIKY
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If lately, so much has been written about the work, challenges and successes of Ms. Ech Channa, her activities started more than thirty years ago. What makes Aisha so different than other human and civil rights activists in Morocco are her unassuming demeanor and humble attitude, two personality treads are so much lacking in the Moroccan society now days. In the shadows of a conservative society with an abundance of taboos, Ech Channa has been courageously pursuing her vision of a world where women of all walks of life are treated with respect and dignity.
Aïcha Ech Channa’s itenarary in the world of social justice is unique in an Islamic country. Taking up the cause of “single mothers” is no easy task in a society where having kids out of wedlock is a stigma that stays with unmarried mothers for the rest of their lives. Aïcha fought against all these ill-conceived clichés in a quite but decisive manner, changing attitudes and winning hearts in the process.
Like other social “progressive” leaders, Aïcha had her detractors who prefer to sweep delicate social issues under the carpet rather than admit, address and resolve society’s communal ailments. Her soft diplomacy won her powerful allies and poplar support all across social and income classes in Morocco.
Ech Channa, indeed, embodies the core principals of the Opus Prize Foundation. She illustrates the values of “Social Entrepreneurship” and “Transformational Leadership Teaching One to Fish” by teaching poor and disadvantaged women how to rely on themselves, helping them open small businesses or teaching them trades to secure jobs. Aïcha epitomized the value of “Service to Others Unsung Heroes” by standing by women that have been shunned by a hypocritically cruel society. And most certainly, Aïcha Ech Channa exemplifies how once person can make a difference in alleviating the suffering of groups of marginalized segments of a society and giving the “Human Person a Dignity”. Let’s hope more Moroccans would appreciate Aïcha’s work and its significance.
Today is an uplifting day for Muslim and Moroccan women and a proud moment for the Moroccan American community. Thank you Aïcha, good luck and may Allah (S) assist you and protect you.