David Deiss is a rare book dealer with a business in America, but for the past five years he has been spending his winters in Taroudant working with a local charity that assists the families in crisis - particularly those with substance abuse issues. He began working with several of the mothers who are experienced weavers (most of whom are from around Tazenacht). They have been making unusual boucherouite bags, pillows and rugs for several years. Now the women have opened up a small shop in Taroudant
The project is a true co-operative with David purchasing the looms and supplies and paying the women for their work (far in excess of what can be obtained working on the farms here). They generally work at home to be closer to their families, but now they have a weaver working in the shop now.
The View from Fez was impressed and so asked David to tell us about the project
David Deiss - The Anmoon Co-op - in his own words:
I came to Taroudant in 2009 to assist a British charity (Moroccan Children’s Trust) in its efforts to try and understand the growing problem of street children and the epidemic of glue-sniffing here. I worked with a local woman who interviewed about 70 of the kids and some of their families and from this research we developed a plan to try and assist these families in ways that previously had not been explored.
Over the past several years, the trust and its local counterpart have developed a wide range of programs that attempt to strengthen the families and provide long term support. The group now has a pre-school program, sports activities, after-school assistance, a women’s group, assistance with obtaining identity papers, a “big-brother/sister” style program for intensive work with individual kids and various other projects.
Through my involvement with this group, I began to work with a small group of women who were involved in the project and were extremely talented weavers. We began making boucherouite rugs (made from a variety of wool, fabric and raffia) and slowly developed a variety of other woven products.
Now, four years later, we have a very impressive and unique collection of stylish bags, pillows and rugs and we continue to expand our range of products. We recently opened a small boutique in Taroudant and are off to a good start in developing a local market. Anmoon (an Amazigh Berber word meaning “together”) is a true co-operative- the women work in their homes so that they can maintain their family lives and are paid for their work. All of the proceeds from sales are returned to the group and they decide what they will do with their earnings.
The shop in Taroudant also houses a loom where some of the women also work. In addition to our bags, pillows and rugs, we are happy to accept custom orders- we use many unique materials that I have collected in mountain souks, as well as in my wanderings in Europe and America. All of the work is unlike anything that is available elsewhere and we are always open to new ideas.
For more info check out their website (www.anmoon.com)
The shop is open regular hours in the Leblalia district of Taroudant
Phone +212 (0) 6 13 30 84 13.