For the Berber women who inhabit the argan forest in the Southwest of Morocco, the hard work of extracting argan oil offers them their only means of financial and social independence.
For centuries, the hard work of extracting oil from the nut of the argan tree has been performed by Berber women, the indigenous people of North Africa, many of whom live in Morocco’s argan region. The work is extremely labor intensive. It can take one woman up to eight hours to crack the nuts for one liter of oil. This labor provides the women with an opportunity for social and economic freedom that they would not otherwise have.
Most of these women cannot read nor write, so they use illustrative symbols to mark their identity. In 2008, on one of her many visits to the cooperatives, Katharine collected the marks and signatures of several of the women who extract the argan oil for her products. One such example is the five-pointed star—a key element in Arabic design that is drawn on the top of each Giving Beauty package. Encircled, this star is the emblem of the Moroccan flag.
In collaboration with cooperatives and local NGOs (non-government organizations), Kahina Giving Beauty works to enhance the quality of life for these women and their communities by supporting local educational, environmental, agricultural and clean water initiatives.
Kahina Giving Beauty donates 1% of its annual revenue to organizations that directly benefit the women in the South of Morocco and their families. Two of our favorites are Education for All, Morocco and the High Atlas Foundation.
Kahina has been giving back since 2009.
- 12,000 trees planted in community-run nurseries in partnership with the High Atlas Foundation to elevate rural Moroccans beyond subsistence level farming
- 100 sheep donated to women in the Anti Atlas Mountains of Morocco so that they may have wool for their weaving
- 84 pairs of winter boots donated to the children of the village of Ait Goh in the Anti Atlas Mountains
- Healthcare for 25 women of a cooperative outside of Agadir in southwest Morocco
- Free room and board for 18 girls so that they may continue their education beyond the third grade through Education for All, Morocco
- One girls’ bathroom constructed to serve a public primary school outside of Marrakech. Girls were not attending school due to the lack of privacy and hygiene. Due to the new bathroom, the school is seeing attendance rise among girls.
- Building materials for the construction of a preschool in the High Atlas Mountains.