Meknes – Nora Belahcen Fitzgerald, the founder of the Amal Association for Culinary Arts in Marrakech, lends a helping hand to disadvantaged Moroccan women by getting them involved in business and improving their lives through her humanitarian project, “From Kitchen to Company Leader.”
One of only five women from the Mediterranean region, Nora is a candidate for the “Women for Change” award bestowed every year by the Orange Foundation. The annual award honors the most committed woman who devotes herself to aiding marginalized women in her country.
Nora founded her non-profit organization in 2013 in Marrakech, inspired by the social services of Aicha Echenna’s Association to help single mothers, widows and homeless beggars, and encourage them to reintegrate into society.
Belahcen initially conceived of creating a platform for women to focus their energies, when she had once met several women in need in Marrakech. Her six-month training program includes training regarding local and global cuisine and personal development courses.
Nora’s philanthropic program aims to improve the situation of indigent women by funding them to set up their own culinary micro-business or by finding them other employment to take them on the road to financial independence by managing their own future affairs.
Nora is the mother of three children. She was born in Marrakech to American parents. She studied in the United States and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Spanish. Afterwards, inspired by daily confrontation with homeless beggars and needy women, she returned to Morocco and launched her charitable project.
Nora has revived the hope and secured the welfare of more than 55 beneficiaries who have finished their training. 80% of them are currently employed by restaurants and other companies.
Winners of the award receive 25,000 euros to fund women’s businesses and advance them toward a brighter future.