The Amal Women’s Training Center and Restaurant is a non-profit association based in Marrakech, Morocco. They provide intensive training to develop skills within the hospitality industry as well as others to disadvantage women with the aim of empowering and making them self-reliant. It was founded in November 2012 by Nora Fitzgerald, an American born raised in Morocco.
Mission, Mandate and Goals of the Organisation?
Our mission is to empower disadvantaged women through restaurant training and job placement. Additionally, we strive to establish self-sufficiency in our organization through the Amal Center’s various revenue generating activities.
How does the Amal Women’s Training Center and Restaurant Make African Women Count?
As a women’s organization dedicated to pulling impoverished and stigmatized women above their circumstances, the Amal Center strives to foster confidence and autonomy in its trainees. Moreover, the Amal Center provides networking and career opportunities that will make a lasting impact on each woman’s life.
Our single largest success as an organization has been the transformative quality of our program. Prior to training at the Amal Center, many of our trainees felt completely dependent on others for basic necessities, unable to obtain an education or employment because of their stigmatized statuses as former child laborers, widows, single mothers, and orphans. They reported feelings of worthlessness and general doubt in their own abilities. When they begin their journeys at the Amal Center, their entire outlook changes. They become employable, confident, and independent. We feel extraordinarily proud of their accomplishments, and witnessing their transformation is a moving experience. We are also fortunate enough to celebrate an 80%* employment rate (as of June 23, 2015).
*This rate is based on the number of women that obtained employment during or immediately after their training at the Amal Center.
Our challenge is the same challenge faced by many non-profits with income generating activities. From the outside, the Amal Center appears to be primarily a restaurant. Many of our customers decide to eat at the Amal Center because of its high rank on TripAdvisor (as of June 23, 2015, the Amal Center ranks 4th among all restaurants in Marrakech). However, this perception of the Amal Center is incorrect. The restaurant’s main purpose is to provide a space for trainees to practice their cooking and serving skills, and also to establish a steady flow of revenue to sustain all aspects of the training program. Therefore, we feel that it is crucial to improve our public appearance, as we are a non-profit first and foremost, and one hundred percent of the proceeds we make go towards operating costs, trainees’ fees, and other organization necessities. Indeed, the Amal Center would not even be possible without the support provided by Drosos, a Swiss foundation.
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