The Imik Simik Women’s Center of Ait Ben Haddou was started in 2012 by 13 women.

The women came together to support one another while promoting education and skills training in this traditionally male dominated rural area 4 hours from Marrakech. Partnership with Grand Circle Foundation has enabled them to expand their pastry and couscous production along with creating sewing and embroidery workshops.

We firmly believe in working with communities and local organizations, especially those led by women, to help them become self-sufficient.  Due to government restrictions, cultural beliefs and more, this is not always easy to accomplish, as we quickly learned in Morocco. And after more than two years of negotiations with local community leaders, the women of Imik Simik finally received permission, land rights, and the approval to build a new women’s center. As 2018 ended, we were thrilled to fund the first payment so the construction can begin, and a year later the exteriors of the structure were completed.  With the onset of Covid however, all construction halted and we awaited the slow reopening of Morocco to allow the interiors to be completed so the women could move into the building.

Fatima walks us through their new “home” in the video above, proudly sharing their accomplishments with OAT travelers.

Funding from Grand Circle Foundation purchased professional grade kitchen equipment such as a fridge, stove and refrigerated display case, along with professional training in pastry techniques thus allowing the women to expand production and increase their income.

The beautiful new building with so many possibilities also now has a dedicated sewing room where the ladies can share and expand their knowledge.


Throughout 2019 we received steady reports on the progress of the construction and as the year closed the full exterior was up.  As plans were made to begin the interior work such as electrical and plumbing, the world came to a stop with the outbreak of the pandemic.

We were thrilled when work resumed and the building was finally complete.  If you happen to visit, enjoy the tea and cookies as you learn of all they’re accomplishing.