When did you start We Can Morocco? How has the organization grown?
It has grown incredibly compared to a lot of organizations in Morocco. Before the NFL documentary, we had only one We Can academy. Now we have two academies for girls and boys in Morocco. We educate through sports, providing English and French courses, leadership classes and other things. Also, we launched a program called No Barriers Project, in which we provide kids with Down syndrome access to flag football.
We are aiming now to give girls in rural areas access to flag football as a competitive outlet, but we also want to help raise awareness of things considered taboo to discuss in Morocco, such as sexual harassment, and make sure they know when something isn’t right. We want to give them a safe space.
That is truly amazing work. What is your ultimate goal for your organization?
I would love to expand the business all over Morocco. Our 10-year vision is to have a We Can Morocco-type organization in Egypt and all over the African continent. This is the goal now, and hopefully we can expand to the Middle East, as well.
Last year, I worked with the Egyptian Federation of American Football to organize the first-ever flag football tournament in Africa called the African Flag Ladies Cup. It was right after I finished my first cancer treatment. There were four teams in the tournament — two Egyptian teams, the Eagles Athletic Club and Cairo Bears, the Moroccan Jaguars and one American team, the Philadelphia Phantomz.
It was really emotional for me, but it was eye-opening. Instead of seeing football as a player from the sideline, I realized I wanted to view it from the top and help organize and lead. We actually discovered our mission and vision for the We Can academies clearly after that tournament.
When and how did you find out that you were going to be part of the U.S. Department of State and espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program? And what was your reaction to the news?
About a year ago, I was in Morocco and received a call from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, and they told me I was nominated to represent women’s sports for Morocco in the Global Sports Mentoring Program. There were a lot of people nominated and I was chosen somehow.
My first experience with the program was through Gatorade and it was virtual. That was the first time I was connected with the NFL, NFL International, NFL Films, etc. They became a huge source of support for me during that mentorship program.
This year, I received an email from the program that said I’d be mentored by the NFL and the Green Bay Packers and it was going to be in person. I actually jumped in happiness when I read it because it’s an honor and a dream to be mentored by one of the biggest sports organizations in the world. I am so happy to be here, and I’ve learned a lot about the NFL. I’ve also learned about some of the initiatives that are impacting lives, including mine.
What was the biggest thing you learned during your two weeks in Green Bay and New York?
I never knew the Green Bay Packers were a publicly owned organization, and I was very impressed by the work the Packers do in the community. I was able to coach in the Packers’ Football Outreach Camp, and I enjoyed every moment of it because it was truly for the kids, which is what I’m doing in Morocco.
It inspired me a lot, and I have so much respect for the organization and what they do as a football team and in the community. It was cold, but I really enjoyed it. I would like to go back but maybe in the summer.