Rabat – Moving to the US from Morocco may present challenges to employment and socialization, but several NGOs exist across the states for those very reasons.
Anouar Mzoudi is a Moroccan immigrant to the United States, and found that doing research before migrating is imperative to a successful move. “It’s a transformative experience in many ways,” he told Morocco World News, noting that “opportunities and challenges are waiting for you.”
The 2000 United States census recorded 39,000 Americans of Moroccan descent, most of whom had settled in the areas of New York City, New England, Washington D.C., California, and Texas. Like Mzoudi, many of these Moroccans have found that seeking a variety of support systems greatly aids the transition to American life.
“As a new immigrant, it is important to have the support of your friends and family, but complete dependence on others for information and material help can be annoying, or even damaging to relationships,” says Mzoudi. “Developing your research and opportunity-seeking skills will enhance your immigration experience.”
In an effort to thwart isolation, find employment, and create places to practice Muslim rituals and prayers, several organizations have arisen across the US to aid Moroccan immigrants. When looking for aid organizations in the United States for yourself or a friend, it is important to note that they are often located in large cities with high Moroccan immigrant populations. Below are six of the most prominent.
MAGHREB ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA (CHICAGO, IL): MANA’s mission is to “maintain and improve the spirit of community among the friends of the Maghreb region, and to foster cultural understanding and diversity in a pluralist American society.” MANA aims to help new immigrants from the Maghreb assimilate to American life while simultaneously adhering to the principles of Sunni Islam. The group hosts religious activities to unify North African Muslim groups in Chicago, including feasts of Ramadan and collective prayer ceremonies. Programs offered teach job skills, English, and various faith practices. The association also hosts educational and social gatherings for its members, including: Friday coffee meetings, summer camps, and youth programs.
THE MOROCCAN AMERICAN HOUSE ASSOCIATION (BROOKLYN, NY): “It was created to get all Moroccans together and solve problems, whether it be the death of a person, someone who is sick, or has lost their job,” says Adil Oualim, president of MAHA. “We are trying to have orientation with American society. We live here, and this is our country. Our mission is very clear: we want to coordinate with other communities in Brooklyn and have a better Moroccan community.”
THE MOROCCAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (NORTHERN VIRGINIA, VA): MACO works to ensure a smooth transition forimmigrants into the economies and communities of the DC metropolitan area. Their mission statement says, “We strive to provide and cater to the needs of our community so that it can prosper and thrive within the fabric of the American society. All are welcome worship, learn, and socialize with brothers and sisters.” The MACO offers children, youth, adult, and Qur’an education, as well as prayers and social services.
ASSOCIATION OF MOROCCAN PROFESSIONALS IN AMERICA (NEW YORK CITY, NY): This goal of this nonprofit organization is to provide members with a platform where they can easily share knowledge and contacts in order to “advance social and professional development”. In order to promote networking between active Moroccan professionals in America ,the association hosts networking events and forums.
WASHINGTON MOROCCAN ASSOCIATION (SEATTLE, WA): WMA’s goal is to establish deeper ties between Morocco and the United States, to reach an increased understanding of Moroccan culture and build a history for the Moroccan-American community. WMA has held numerous community events and several members have created independent businesses.
MOROCCAN SOCIETY OF HOUSTON (HOUSTON, TX): The MSH is a nonprofit organization that coordinates social, cultural, and athletic activities to maintain and strengthen the community’s cultural heritage, as well asto enhance mutual understanding with other communities. The groupoffers community support and effective help to those who need it. MSH recognizes the importance of educating youth and has a scholarship fund to help students cover the cost of their college education.