Monday, October 11, 2010

Moroccan Ambassador teams with Nest to promote Moroccan artisans

Marrakesh Palace served as the gateway to NESTINATION 2010: Morocco last Thursday, treating guests to a light fare of Moroccan dishes and shopping for a good cause.

The event, aptly titled "Midnight in Marrakesh," brought attention to the local customs and artisan traditions of Morocco in conjunction with Nest, a nonprofit organization providing interest-free, micro-finance loans to women in developing countries, among them three Moroccan cooperatives.

In the mix of social do-gooders, world travelers, and Nest supporters, was His Excellency Mr. Aziz Mekouar, Moroccan Ambassador to the United States. He addressed the 300+ audience with words of gratitude for their interest in his country.

“Morocco has 32 million people and many very poor living in small villages,” the Ambassador said. “We welcome organizations such as Nest who are helping to generate income for our people.”

A sentiment shared by Hamza Zraqi from Casablanca. “We are not a rich country,” he says, “but we make beautiful crafts and these women want to work and sell.”

The country boasts natural resources in gold and copper, which are fashioned into jewelry and belts. Leather and wood also count among the materials used in artisan goods.

NESTINATION, an experiential journey in the lives of Nest’s loan recipients, is the brainchild of the DC Nest Board of Directors. In April, DC Board Co-President Summer Amin joined 14 other Board members on a trip to Morocco to monitor their projects. They returned humbled and proud of Nest’s accomplishments. “The women we visited invited us into their homes and entertained us with food, dancing and storytelling,” Amin said, “We felt so honored, especially since these women have so little.”

Guests shopped exclusive handcrafted items made by Nest’s loan recipients and bid on a silent auction.

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