Paulo Freire and Empowerment of Women Workers in Morocco

Freire and his critical pedagogy philosophy were our guiding light in working with women workers at a canning factory in the city of Agadir on the Atlantic ocean in Morocco.  These women worked long days (14 hours or longer) in horrible working conditions without the necessary safety equipment to protect them from injuries.  They complained bitterly about their working conditions, high level of disease and debilitating injuries.  So at my previous job, we embarked on a two-year empowerment and learning journey using Freire pedagogy and adapting it to women who did not know how to read and write.  We worked very closely on practically a daily basis with these women and built the trust between us. This project culminated in that the women were able to identify the issues at work and articulate them in a successful manner to the management to make significant changes. We took theory with practice and made teaching into a process of learning reflection. It brought in the women’s experiences with the effective pedagogy theories. The women learned that they were indeed powerful and they learned that they could reflect, act and then reflect again. The women became even more creative and saw that these methods were successful in improving their working lives and ultimately their lives.  This is particularly instructive since Moroccan culture is very hierarchical and these women were on the lowest rungs of society.  They moved from the “naive to a critical consciousness” as Kincheloe wrote in Critical Pedagogy.  I believe that we learned as much even more from these gutsy courageous Moroccan working women.

 

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