Inspiring portrait of the Moroccan Oum El Banine center, a shelter for ostracized single mothers. Led by feminist Mahjouba Edbouche, the team members operate with patience and love. They help the young women with information, judicial council and – perhaps most importantly – dealing with their families.
‘There’s no legitimate or illegitimate mother’, Moroccan feminist Mahjouba Edbouche says. ‘A mother is a mother.’ However, the Moroccan Penal Code states that people who have sex without being married, can be punished with up to 1 year imprisonment. In Oum El Banine (‘Mother of Children’) in Agadire, led by Edbouche, unwed mothers can find refuge and help.
Most of the women don’t come to the center until late in their pregnancy, when they can no longer pretend – even to themselves – that nothing’s the matter. At Oum El Banine they are taken in by social workers Nacira and Fatima, and by Hafida, the hard working home manager. The girls are examined by a volunteer gynaecologist and advised by a lawyer. Edbouche and her team operate with extreme patience and understanding. But also with firmness when needed – toward the girls and their parents, who will have to be informed sooner or later.