Tangier: HRH Princess Lalla Asmae Inaugurates Princess Lalla Asmae Center for Deaf Children

Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae, President of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children, inaugurated, on June 26, in Tangier, the Princess Lalla Asmae Center for Deaf Children and subsequently chaired the Foundation’s 2022-2023 end-of-school-year ceremony.

After unveiling the commemorative plaque, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae toured the center’s outbuildings and was informed about the Center’s facilities and services for deaf children.

Built on a covered area of 2.550 m2, the Center includes twenty classrooms, four workshops dedicated to sewing, hairdressing, pastry-making, and computing, five offices, a refectory, and a sports field, as well as several other outbuildings complementing the Center’s activities.

HRH Princess Lalla Asmae then visited the various stands set up by the Foundation’s partners, namely the White Ear Space, the Rabat Faculty of Science Space, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection’s Deafness Protocol Space, the National Health Insurance Agency Space (ANAM) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Space.

Coordinator of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children and Youth, Karim Essakalli, stated that “this Center is much more than just a building, as it reflects a shared vision of inclusion and equal opportunity, adding that it symbolizes the determination to go beyond communication barriers and open up new prospects for deaf people.”

“Thanks to its modern facilities, innovative educational programs, and the staff’s dedication, the Princess Lalla Asmae Center in Tangier will promote hope and emanate transformation in the region,” emphasized Essakalli, noting that the ceremony was attended by several senior guests and the Foundation’s valued partners, who consistently demonstrate their unwavering support for the Foundation.

The Foundation’s coordinator further noted that the construction of this Center required a total investment of MAD 15 million, excluding the land costs, adding that this exceptional Center is at the disposal of the Foundation of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae, by Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity.

In a similar context, Essakalli pointed out that the Center’s infrastructure is the result of the commitment and collaboration between the Regional Academy for Education and Training (AREF), the Office for Vocational Training and Work Promotion (OFPPT), and the Regional Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

HRH Princess Lalla Asmae also attended presentations by the Director of the Lalla Asmae Foundation, El Abbes Bouhlal, and the Dean of the Rabat Faculty of Sciences, Mohamed Erragragui, that highlighted the academic achievements of students at the Princess Lalla Asmae Centers and the Rabat Faculty of Sciences.

In this regard, Her Royal Highness presented the Awards of Excellence to the 2022-2023 academic year graduates, having obtained their baccalaureate, bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees.

The winners are El Oufir Asmae and Jbara Zineb, who respectively averaged 15.97 and 15.93, Bachelor’s class valedictorian Meryem Amrani, and the Master’s class valedictorian Badr Lasfar.

The Director General of the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), Hassan Boubrik, then presented Her Royal Highness with an overview of the fruitful collaboration between the Foundation and the National Social Security Fund (CNSS).

On this occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae also chaired the signing ceremony of an agreement relating to the “Awrach” program and a partnership agreement between the Foundation and the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication.

The first agreement, signed between the Foundation, the Ministry of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, and the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), aims to offer a paid pre-employment opportunity to deaf trainees on vocational training courses at the Tangier Center. This initiative will allow trainees to benefit from practical work experience while pursuing their training.

The second agreement grants the Foundation financial support of MAD  2 million from the Moroccan Ministry of Health and Social Protection to support projects in communication, youth, and culture.

In addition, and similar to Casablanca, the Wilaya of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region has allocated the Foundation premises for the creation of a Hearing Rehabilitation Center, which will cater to the region’s deaf or hard-of-hearing children diagnosed during neonatal screening for deafness.

Special emphasis was placed on the vital importance of the collaboration between the Lalla Asmae Foundation, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, and the National Health Insurance Agency Space (ANAM), which aims to strengthen the Foundation’s capacities to support deaf and hard-of-hearing people more effectively.

Thanks to this collaboration, a protocol for deafness treatment has been established and presented to Her Royal Highness by the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb.

During the same occasion, Her Royal Highness also chaired the launch of a major awareness campaign, known as the “White Ear,” which aims to give a voice to those often invisible in society.

This campaign also involves the free distribution of symbolic pins in the shape of a white ear, designed for hard-of-hearing and deaf people to wear.

In this regard, Essakalli stated that these pins are a discreet but powerful way of communicating a clear message: “I’m hard-of-hearing, please speak to me a little louder, looking at me, articulating and without hiding your mouth,” noting that these badges have a profound meaning and act as a constant reminder of the daily reality of people with hearing impairment while encouraging others to adopt appropriate communication behaviors.

“By proudly wearing these pins, hearing-impaired people express their desire for mutual understanding and respect,” underlined the Foundation’s coordinator,  adding that the campaign will also be promoted through a televised broadcast of an awareness-raising spot featuring several Moroccan celebrities.

At the end of the ceremony, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae posed for a souvenir photo with the awarded students for the year 2022-2023.

Upon her arrival, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae was greeted by Minister of National Education, Preschool, and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb, Minister of Youth, Culture, and Communication, Mohammed Mehdi Bensaïd, the Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Salim Bin Mohammed Al Malik, and several other personalities.

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