With You Alone

Saida and Rachida are single mothers in Morocco. Despite reform of the Moroccan family legal code, single mums and their kids face a struggle, as cultural tradition works against them.

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With You Alone

Figures put out by INSAF (Institution Nationale de Solidarité avec les Femmes en Détresse) reveal that some 150 children are born outside wedlock every day in Morocco. Daily, more than 20 babies are simply abandoned. Unmarried women who try to raise their children face rejection by family and community. Unwanted pregnancies are more prevalent in deprived and rural areas.

The 2004 reform of the Moudawana, Morocco’s family legal code, specifically addressed women’s rights, and laid the way for greater discussion and acceptance of such issues as unwed mothers and children born out of wedlock. Yet cultural tradition and laws still discriminate against single mothers and their children. Single mothers are openly discriminated against; children may find themselves excluded from schools, or refused play dates with others. In the past, only a father could register a child, so the children of single mothers often ended up undocumented.

For some years, a variety of associations have worked to help unmarried mothers and their children integrate into society. Work is also done to sensitize families and communities, so that they can provide a more supportive environment and help prevent ostracism of mothers, and the abandonment of babies. But many women, especially younger ones from more modest backgrounds, are untouched by or unaware of such efforts.

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