Amina Ait Laarbi, Teacher for the Eve Branson Foundation
Amina has been working for the Eve Branson Foundation since 2006. She lives with her husband and three children in Tamgounssi and teaches embroidery, sewing and rug-making, providing her specialist skills in traditional crafts.
Having been given the opportunity to study tailoring and embroidery after she left school, Amina is very keen to pass these skills on to the next generation – both through her teaching programmes and artistic workshops.
Amina has devoted the past 10 years to teaching young women how to create high quality textile products in the villages of Tamgounssi, Tifaouine and Tiwizi. She recently managed the delivery of a very large order of napkins and tablecloths for the US Ambassador in Rabat, and regular commissions from retail partner Mushmina. Thanks to Amina’s hard work, two of her embroidery students were able to buy new equipment for their homes with the income earned.
“It is very important to maintain good standards and quality in our products. I felt very satisfied to be thanked and trusted by the local community. Some husbands were wary at first about their wives coming to the craft centre a few kilometres from their homes. They now congratulate me for my work and teaching and for helping their wives to excel in certain skills. This has generated a much appreciated revenue for their families.”
Amina is now in charge of running teaching programmes at the brand new weaving centre in Tamgounssi, training over 40 local women.
She is very proud of the accomplishments of her students and has seen two girls successfully find employment – one through dressmaking and working in a jeans factory in Marrakech, while another has created her own boutique selling hand-sewn djellabas. She has also secured funding in her local community to build and maintain a local crèche. This will enable more women to seek and attend work.
“I enjoy working with the team and using Barbara’s ideas concerning colour combinations. I remember learning to crochet slippers and shawls with Eve at the very beginning. My most memorable moments are always the celebrations with the girls; when they get married, having a picnic together in Imlil and the reward and satisfaction that comes with teaching and sharing my knowledge with them. Eve believed in me and I believe in them.”
Amina is always willing to try out new designs and created camel baby blankets and children’s aprons to sell in the Eve Branson Foundation Shop. She has become a role model for others who are eager to learn and perhaps one day, will become self-employed.