Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

UIRMAL 2018: A Fulfilling Process And Experience

Written by RISE Alumna & DSH grantee: Intissar Blila

Intissar in the Moroccan Parliement
“Great things never come from comfort zones”; this is what I told myself recently in order to challenge myself to get out of my shell and do things I have never done before.
Before I start telling you about my part of the story, let me introduce myself. I am Intissar Blila, a 21-year-old student attending Ibn Zohr University, studying faculty of juridical, economic and social sciences. I participated in the program for personal and professional development called “RISE & THRIVE” during the period from November 2015 until June 2016. Rise was an enriching experience which allowed me to make new friendships and learn a lot of things in each module we went through.
Friday, October the 5th, I received an email for an application from Dar Si Hmad stating that they would sponsor their Rise Program alumni to attend an international conference. I opened the email and read it and luckily I was eligible for the opportunity, but once I saw the four essays we were asked to write, I felt bad. It was the kind of feeling you get when deep inside you know you can do something but at the same time there is something that stops you.
Intissar during the training with her fellow Risers
A few hours later, I reread the application form again and asked myself, “why not, Intissar? Why would you let this opportunity slip through your fingers again?” At that moment I told myself that “this is a new challenge that you need to take up”.  After three tiring days of reading, gathering information and writing, I finally submitted the application form. I could not believe that I finally did it! 
Days later, I received an email which told me that I passed the first application phase and that I was accepted and needed to come to Dar Si Hmad for an interview. The interview was also scheduled on a Friday! I still remember how stressed I was while walking to the Dar Si Hmad office. On that day I got the chance to meet Anna Cizek, an amazing woman who marked this whole experience. She asked me different questions concerning my essays and gave me more details about the conference.
Finally, I received another email where I was informed that I was one of the three people whom Dar Si Hmad would sponsor to represent Ibn Zohr University at the Arab Model League Conference, organised at the International University of Rabat. Weeks before heading to Rabat, we had many training sessions with our university advisor and Dar Si Hmad Intern, Anna, who helped us broaden our understanding of parliamentary procedure and the Model Arab League in general, in addition to the country which we were going to represent, which was Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, Anna helped us boost our self-confidence with different exercises. It was in these sessions that I met Ayoub and Imane, the two other lucky chosen students!
Intissar during the MAL conference
Once we got to Rabat, we were warmly welcomed by the organisers of the conference. On the first day, we visited the Moroccan parliament, and for the two other days, they were busy and full of hard work in the committee sessions. It was difficult and challenging at the very beginning but was still a fulfilling process and experience.
I cannot put into words or describe the significant impact this experience had on me. Not only did it show me that when I really want something I will surely do it, but it also gave me the opportunity to live unforgettable moments and meet amazing people I could not have met otherwise. 
From left to right : Anna, Imane, Intissar and Ayoub

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