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, May 22, 2014

100 Thousands Poets for Change, Hosted Poetry Event at Dar Si Hmad

Earlier this month Dar Si Hmad hosted an international poetry event at our center in Agadir. The event was made possible in collaboration with 100 Thousand Poets for Change, “100TPC” for short, an initiative established in 2011 by California poets Mr. Michael Rothenberg and Ms. Terri Carrion. Both Mr. Rothenberg and Ms. Carrion, along with their photographer, came to Morocco for their first time to join us for the event.

100TPC is a project that brings together poets, musicians and artists around the United States and across the globe in a poetry demonstration and celebration to promote peace, sustainability and social, environmental and political change. 100TPC helps motivated people from around the world organize a poetry event in their own community; students, both aspiring and established poets, musicians, travelers and community members all joined us at Dar Si Hmad for a day of poetry and expression.

At this event, there were poets from all ages, professions and languages. Well-known poets shared their work and artistry, aspiring writers were heard in public for the first time, and Canadian musicians encouraged the audience to be more conscious of our environment and resources. We listened to poetry and song in several languages--Arabic, French, Spanish and English--with each poem transmitting experiences, emotions, knowledge and passion in their own unique way.

Poetry is sustainable and is a driving force for peace and change in our world. Dar Si Hmad is proud and honored to have shared this moment with 100TPC and  members of our community. We are thankful for the efforts of everyone who made this event memorable and will continue to be inspired by the passionate poets who stood on stage to share with us a part of themselves. Thanks to 100TPC founders, Mr. Rothenberg and Ms. Carrion, for making the journey to Morocco and having Agadir be their very first stop before they made their way to other cities in the country to perform and connect with other poets and artists. Dar Si Hmad hopes that this event is the beginning of a long-standing relationship with 100 Thousand Poets for Change and other poets and artists in our very own community.

Dar Si Hmad was thrilled to host 100 Thousand Poets for Change because we believe in the impact poetry has on spreading peace within the society.

Renda Nazzal
Ethnographic School Liaison and Manager

Monday, May 12, 2014

Visual Arts for Development at Dar Si Hmad

Dar Si Hmad hosted three filmmakers from Morocco and Egypt in the months of March and April to present their documentary films and conduct filmmaking workshops for local students in Agadir.

In March, Dar Si Hmad invited Moroccan filmmaker Karima Zoubir to screen her documentary film Camera/Woman. The film highlights the life of an ordinary woman, burdened by various constraints due to her gender and marital status. The woman, Khadija, is a divorcee and gains an income by working as a camera-woman at weddings in Casablanca. Khadija is subject to gossip and rumors and her family disagrees with her choice of work. This documentary portrays this deep and conflicting tension in her life. 

Following the screening, the audience engaged with Ms. Zoubir in a conversation about gender roles and inequalities in Morocco, the family code and the constraints that the filmmaker faced while making this film.
The the following two days Dar Si Hmad organized a documentary film workshop facilitated by Ms. Zoubir. The workshop focused on three main areas: writing a documentary film proposal, financial planning, and film distribution and promotion. 

Click below for a summary of the workshop if you are interested in learning more:

In April, Dar Si Hmad invited Ms. Mirit Mikhail and Mr. Mahmoud Afifi to celebrate cinema for a four-day event in Agadir. On the first day we screened the film 18 Days in the Heart of the Egyptian Revolution directed by Ms. Mikhail and Mr. Farid Ismail, both French-Egyptian filmmakers. The documentary is the only film to look at the revolution from the perspective of the Egyptian diaspora. 

Various university students, professors, expatriates and researchers attended the screening and engaged in a debate with Ms. Mikhail about the Democratic Spring in Egypt. The audience was also curious on how the Egyptian diaspora views the current situation in Egypt and the ways in which they aspire to be part of the making of modern Egyptian history.
For the following three days, Dar Si Hmad hosted a workshop facilitated by both Ms. Mikhail and Mr. Afifi focusing on photography and filmmaking techniques. Ms. Mikhail taught the history of cinema, how to write a scenario and how to make one-minute films. Alternatively, Mr. Afifi focused on photography techniques, types of lenses and the lighting on how to read the characteristics of camera lenses. Both workshops complemented each other and gave basic training to aspiring filmmakers.

 The last day of workshop was dedicated to teaching students how to make a one-minute film. The students spent the whole morning preparing their scenarios and shooting. In the afternoon, both trainers coached the students on the editing of their films. By the end of the day, the students felt a sense of accomplishment after screening their short films thanks to the help of the trainers and the passion of the students.

Click below for Mr. Mahmoud Afifi's workshop presentation: Photography Workshop Presentation w/ Mr. Mahmoud Afifi

Here below is a 15-minute video on the history of cinema:

Here below is an example one-minute film that was presented by Ms. Mikhail during her workshop:

Thank you to the wonderful filmmakers and students who joined us for these events at Dar Si Hmad!

Fatima Matousse
Visual Arts for Development Coordinator