Rabat - Belgium’s Jewish Museum in Brussels paid a memorable tribute to guest of honor, the Moroccan human rights activist Aicha Chenna.
Rabat – Belgium’s Jewish Museum in Brussels paid a memorable tribute to guest of honor, the Moroccan human rights activist Aicha Chenna.
The prominent activist was greeted by the applause of a full audience who sang “Aicha” by Cheb Khaled, performed by Moroccan singer Maria Naciri.
Chenna founded the Feminine Solidarity Association as part of her struggle for over 30 years to guarantee a dignified life for single mothers.
The Moroccan ambassador to Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Mohamed Ameur, honored “an extraordinary lady”, “a woman of heart and conviction” with an “exceptional” trajectory, who has been working hard for more than half a century to improve the cause of women and children in Morocco.
“Morocco is engaged in a dynamic of irreversible reforms,” said the ambassador.
The mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, noted the universal nature of the fight led by Chenna, noting that the treatment of single women affects all societies in the world.
Close highlighted the importance of the actions promoted by Chenna’s association “to give visibility to the excluded and voiceless.”
After her tribute, Chenna answered questions, sharing about her career and the different stages of her fight.
A woman of heart
Aicha Chenna was born in 1941 in the medina (walled city) of Casablanca. She spent her childhood in Marrakech and returned to Casablanca in 1953.
The activist studied at the French Foch school and the Lycée Joffre high school, before joining, in 1960, the State School of Nursing where she obtained a state diploma.
The 77-year-old feminist found the Feminine Solidarity Association in 1985 to help single mothers integrate into the job market by offering them professional training in different fields.
The association believes that, by enabling the women to achieve financial and social autonomy, they could be free.
Today, Chenna is a leading civil society activist defending women’s and children’s rights, notably those living in precarious social conditions.
Chena’s hard work has paid off as she was rewarded over the years for her continuous work of defending the marginalized.
In 1995, she was given the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic in Paris, before being awarded in 1999 the Grand Atlas Award for Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Rabat. She also won the OPUS Prize 2009, a $1 million humanitarian prize similar to the Nobel prize winner in November 2009 in Minneapolis, United States.
In 2013, Chenna was named Knight of the Legion of Honor by France for the 51 years she spent helping Morocco’s single mothers.
In 2015, the activist won the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) Award for the MENA region. The award is given to individuals for their outstanding contributions in the field of social accountability.
The following year, she was crowned International Woman of the Year at the Monte-Carlo Woman of The Year ceremony.