Oumayma Zekri Ajarrai teaches Moroccan women how to access the world of work
The committed 30-year-old Moroccan woman has produced a series of short videos entitled "Swart Lkhdama", which translates to "the keys to work", to support women's development in the Morocco. Profile by Bérengère Merlot.
Oumayma Zekri Ajarrai and Najwa Benchebab feature in the videos. The two Moroccan women met through a shared passion for podcasts, both listening to them and producing them. The way they bounce off one another just goes to show that they were made to work together. Oumayma had an idea and teamed up with her friend to make it a reality. Together, they created a series of nine 3-minute videos entitled "Swart Lkhdama" (the keys to work) in Darija, a dialect of Morocco spoken. In the pilot video, Najwa, who also works as a psychologist, talks about mental load while Oumayma offers advice on public speaking. Oumayma has just been awarded the special jury prize in CFI's Intajat Jadida project for this series. She called it "the best kind of praise". The videos will be published on social media from late September.
Oumayma calls herself a "career slasher", a term used to describe someone who pursues multiple careers. She works as a media management consultant for Onepoint, and as an independent producer for her own company, May Advisory Studio. She recently produced a short film for the latter entitled "L'mina", which was directed by Randa Maroufi and centres in the Oriental region of northeastern Morocco. Oumayma, who graduated from HEC Paris, despite claiming that that was not her calling, is more interested in the cultural and artistic sector and divides her time between Morocco, France and Portugal.
Amplifying female voices
Oumayma, who was born in Kenitra, a city in northwestern Morocco, in 1992, founded a Moroccan association called "9addat" (you are capable) in 2019. This association has 10 members, all of whom are ambitious women from Morocco and the diaspora. Oumayma initially chose the podcast format, which she believes is the ideal format for the long-term, and has produced 36 podcasts to date. She shares women's stories in the hope that other women will follow in their footsteps. "9addat provides a space where women can express themselves in a society that is characterised by great gender inequality," explains Khalil Dekiki, the association's treasurer.
During the lockdown of 2020, Oumayma used the 9addat platform to launch online workshops on topics that bring people together. The Intajat Jadida project has arrived at the perfect time to enable some of the topics covered in the workshops to be summarised in "Swart Lkhdama".
"Oumayma spent her childhood being nurtured by independent women who made themselves heard in a masculine and patriarchal environment," recalls Yousra Benamour, Oumayma's cousin. "She quickly felt called to amplify these women's voices. She is creative and committed," continues Yousra. In 2015, as part of her artistic projects, Oumayma chose to use her mother's surname, which she placed between her first name and her father's surname. Through her work, she shares the stories of women who have successfully made a way for themselves. "I could easily see her as the future Moroccan Minister of Culture, because she is a very good leader who has an affinity for bringing people together, or as an internationally renowned producer with a trophy cabinet full of awards!," concludes Najwa, Oumayma's co-worker and friend.