Today, for International Women's Day, we invite you to discover the humanitarian association Mahor’EM, whose objective is to improve the living conditions of women overseas by helping victims of domestic violence in Mayotte.
Hello, how did you come up with the name of the association?
The name Mahor'EM comes from the contraction of the name of the inhabitants of Mayotte, the Mahorais, and EM Strasbourg since this project was created within the framework of the Bachelor of International Business.
Why did you choose Mayotte?
The island of Mayotte was not chosen at random. We asked ourselves where our actions would be feasible, useful, and lasting.
It turned out, after reflection, that it was not necessary for us to go abroad in order to carry out a humanitarian project and that it was wise to do so on French territory. After much research, we became aware of the considerable gap between metropolitan France and overseas territories. We therefore decided to set up this project for the island of Mayotte, the French department where domestic violence is most rampant.
Between April and June 2020, 40 women and their children reportedly needed emergency housing to escape a situation of severe violence in Mayotte. However, only 14 such units exist on the island. These women are subjected to physical violence, marital rape, and financial and psychological violence. Since it is an overseas department, the means available to the actors on-site are inferior to those in metropolitan France.
These observations actively boosted our desire to support Mayotte.
Do you work with an association on-site?
Our activities are adapted to the island of Mayotte. The goal is not to transpose the measures in place in metropolitan France but rather to develop actions that meet the specific needs of women in Mayotte. This is why Mahor'EM works in collaboration with the ACFAV, a local association that fights against domestic violence. The ACFAV has a welcome center open during the day that offers women a safe space to talk and rest. The association also has 14 emergency housing units to accommodate women and children who request them.
We develop our actions in collaboration with this local association which provides us with precious information on Mayotte, the way violence is perceived, local specificities to consider, etc. We believe that cooperation with the ACFAV is essential to taking effective actions that will have a significant positive impact.
Which activities do you carry out throughout the year?
Mahor'EM activities fall within two major categories.
On the one hand, we raise funds to support the ACFAV. Concretely, these funds are used to finance the distribution of emergency kits for the women and children welcomed by the association. These kits are composed of basic necessities, namely non-perishable food and hygiene products, and cost €25 per day per woman. We want these products to be collected from local grocery stores so that women are used to them. Developing this activity with local merchants will also allow us to continue the activity on a long-term basis. The fundraising behind this partnership has been made possible via various collections as well as an afterwork event in Strasbourg whose proceeds were transferred to the association.
On the other hand, Mahor'EM also aims to play a role in the prevention of domestic violence by raising awareness of this issue among the public in Mayotte and Strasbourg. Within the scope of this awareness-raising activity, we collaborate with another association, SOS Femmes 67, and in particular its director, Thomas Foehrlé.
In 2020, we organized an open conference allowing our partners from Mayotte and Strasbourg to exchange on the challenges they were facing, which allowed them to learn more about the procedures in place for taking care of victims in both regions, while highlighting the obstacles encountered by actors in Mayotte.
We also organized two training sessions led by Mr. Foehrlé in April 2021, which were open to all EM Strasbourg students. These training sessions raised participants' awareness of violence and gave them the keys to react in the event they are victims of or witness a similar situation.
Finally, since the creation of the association, we have been sharing posts on our Instagram account in order to make information about this still very taboo subject more accessible. Our series Lutter = s'informer [Fighting = Getting infomed] is about to be relaunched.
How many members does Mahor'EM have?
Currently, we have seven members:
- Matthieu Renaux, President
- Pauline Schöppner, Vice President, Communications
- Maxime Dessenne, Secretary, Treasury
- Léa Defer, Communications
- Lison Provot, Treasury
- Célia Cormier, Events/Sponsoring
- Mya Rousselot, Events/Sponsoring
Concerning the team, the above-mentioned members constitute the active volunteers of the association. We are supported by the three founders, who coordinate and support the actions of Mahor'EM.