Updated: Jul 11
By Hassan Ahmatay
HAF Empowerment Leader, Fatima-Zahra Larbi, conducts a workshop for staff and volunteers. Photo: H. Ahmatay, HAF
On Saturday, September 10, 2022, I attended an Imagine empowerment workshop on the subject of “how to create your life as you want it,” presented by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF). All staff members and volunteers were invited to participate, and I did not hesitate to accept the invitation; I refused to miss the opportunity because it would allow me to obtain new knowledge and answers to some of my persistent questions.
We began excitedly early in the morning by reviewing the workshop’s purpose. Our facilitator informed us that this workshop has always been reserved for women, but this day it was being opened to males so they could learn from it and also familiarize themselves with this important development work that the organization does with Moroccan women.
Workshop participants learn about how to identify their goals and work towards them. Photo: H. Ahmatay, HAF
We learned that “self-empowerment” is based on seven pillars: social relations, emotions, work, relationships, spirituality, sexual relations, and money. We collaboratively decided on the meaning of the term “self-empowerment,” each offering what we understood it to mean. The facilitator wrote our answers on the board until it was completely filled, concluding with a general definition of the term as being a way to improve one’s life.
Next, we looked at the principles on which self-empowerment is constructed, which include the and . We did a exercise and learned manifestation techniques, too. To understand these principles, we were asked several questions:
What are each other’s qualities that are most important to me in a relationship?
What qualities should I offer in this relationship?
What can I do to find more love in my life?
If my body could talk about me, what would it say about me?
If I had more money than I needed, what are the five things I would do?
What is the most easily expressed emotion?
What are the feelings I have the most difficulty expressing?
In trying to give answers, I was a little confused, this being the first time I was asked these kinds of questions. The answers are things that I’ve always kept to myself. When it came time for sharing, there were several interactions and dialogues, strengthening the group’s dynamic, and expanding the discussion through a user-friendly approach. The examples we presented to demonstrate situations encountered in life added a sense of good humor, keeping us laughing heartily and thus making us less emotional or uncomfortable and more engaged.
During a coffee break that enabled us to relax a little, clear our minds, and get to know one another better, I learned about my colleagues from a different perspective than purely professional.
We continued our adventure with a practice exercise to teach us the logic of self-empowerment. We were instructed to close our eyes and travel in our imaginations along the routes indicated by our coach, accompanied by soft music to reinforce the vision of being in front of a large castle and walking through its rooms, one by one, each representing the rooms of our desires and consciences.
In another exercise about emotions, each of us talked about the problems and obstacles that hurt us in our lives, and the experience was like group therapy. Of course, the goal was to speak from the heart without fear of criticism or judgment. We let the tears flow without looking for an explanation.
At the end of the day, I felt that I had developed a good understanding of self-empowerment. My main conclusions are that this concept should be taken seriously. Claiming the choice of self-empowerment makes us free and powerful and gives us the possibility of creating comfort in our lives.