UPDATE on Eden’s Pajama Project

First, we’d like to thank everyone who has been donating. The corner of my bedroom is piling up with bags of very cute and cozy PJs for Moroccan kids. Many have included some great little toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste, too. Thank you so very much! The Big Shipment will be sent by courier after Eden’s birthday party next weekend.

And over in Morocco… Saadia has been receiving packages, too! I’m sure she has quite a pile accumulating in her little living room. She said most of them have been from the United States. Thanks so much to our marvelous American friends. Your generosity is much appreciated.

There is still plenty of time to donate. We’ll continue this well into the fall. You can see the details of the project here.

If you have yet to purchase any PJs, please consider buying for a boy!

Eden is thrilled that so many of you have viewed her blog post and is quite shy that people are actually watching her You Tube video! Again, please share the information about this project on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or wherever! Help Eden reach her goal of 300 packages

“My Mom and my Grandma Saadia give jobs to Moroccan Mommmies. I make bedtime better for Moroccan kids.” Eden, Almost 5 years old

Help us continue to gather little “luxuries” for these little Moroccans this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eden in windy Essaouira, March 2012

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Presenting…. Eden’s Pajama Project

Hi everyone!  My name is Eden and I’m going to be five years old on August 15th.

I am very lucky.  I have lots of clothes, toys, books and I even have my own room.  But I have been to Morocco where my Grandma Saadia lives.  Lots of the kids there don’t have very many things.  No toys or art stuff.  And not very many clothes to wear. Some kids smaller than me have to sell tissues on the streets for money.  It makes me feel sad.

I was surprised when my Daddy told me that hardly any poor Moroccan kids have pajamas.  I have lots and lots and lots of pajamas.  I wear a fresh pair every night.  But not Moroccan kids.  They just wear their school clothes when they sleep.

I don’t like bedtime very much.  I’d rather stay up and play or do fun things.  Sleeping is boring.  But I am happy that I have nice pajamas to wear.  I put them on and then I brush my teeth and then I go to bed.  I want Moroccan kids to have these things, too.

My birthday party is on August 11th this year. I am asking my guests to bring presents for kids in the countryside of Morocco instead of presents for me.  My mom asked me how many pairs of pajamas I’d like to collect.  I said 30.  Then I asked her how many poor kids there are in Morocco.  She said a few million.  Then I changed my mind. I would like to collect presents for at least 300 kids in Morocco.  Wouldn’t it be crazy if we got 3000?

If you would like to help you can send a package directly to my Grandma in Essaouira.  In the package, please put:

  • 1 pair of brand new pajamas (for hot weather or cool weather) for a school-aged girl or boy (size 5-12)
  • 1 new kids toothbrush (most kids don’t get to go to the dentist in Morocco)
  • 1 new tube of kids toothpaste

And take it to the post office and mail it to:

Saadia Sabour
Rue Chbanate No. 118
Essaouira, Morocco

tel: 0666 25 20 84

After my Grandma gets these packages, she will give them to my Uncle Omar.  He is a teacher in a poor school in the countryside.  If he gets lots and lots of pajamas, he will give them to other schools with kids who need things.  If you want to add some school supplies in the package for the kids, that would be nice, too.  But I really want lots of kids to get new pajamas this summer.

Please help my birthday wish come true!

Eden


~~

Thanks for reading and watching!  Please share this on Facebook, Tweet this link, and tell your friends and followers to do the same. I’d really like to hit Eden’s goal of 300 pajama packages.  Please leave a comment below if you plan on donating!  We’ll be giving regular updates as to how many packages are sent to Morocco for Eden’s Pajama Project.

Joèl
Eden’s Mom
Saadia’s Daughter in Law
Co-Owner of Saadia Organics Argan Oil

An Interview with Saadia

Saadia with a handful of fresh Argan fruit. Just south of Essaouira, Morocco.

 

Saadia Organics isn’t just a random name our company chose for itself. Saadia is the mother in law of co-owner, Joèl, and is also our Production Manager.

Here is a little interview with Saadia conducted and translated by her son, Greg. (Joèl’s husband).

How long have you been making Argan Oil?

I have being making Argan Oil since I was 15 or 16 years old.  I helped my mom make it for us to eat or for my father to sell in the market.

How do you, personally, use your Argan Oil?

I grew up using Argan Oil in my hair.  I’d put some through before washing it.  I still use it in my hair now.  I also use it on my skin.

What makes your Argan Oil so special?  It really is different than other brands available?

I make sure to get only the BEST quality Argan fruit pits from farms that have no goats.  I have to pay a lot more money for pits for our oil, but it’s worth it.  The kernels inside are always fresh.  They are from healthy trees.  If a goat is climbing all over a tree, branches break.  The tree is unhealthy.  How can you get healthy fruit from an unhealthy tree?  I am very picky about choosing my materials.  Also, my Argan Oil is made by hand.  No machines.  Machines can warm up the oil while it’s being made.  Argan Oil for beauty should not be made with any heat at all.  So yes, this oil is different.  Very different.  Most brands don’t really care about the farms where the fruit is picked from.  They don’t care about the freshness of the pits.  They just want a cheap price when they’re buying them.  They also want the oil to be made quickly.  So they use machines.  It takes us a long time to make a litre of oil for Saadia Organics, but it’s worth it.  The quality is the best.

What did you think when Joèl asked you about creating a company to sell your oil?

I though it was a great idea!  We want to share this special oil with others.  It’s so rare to be able to find Argan Oil that is of the best quality.

How has Saadia Organics made a difference in your day to day life?

It so good to know that you have your own income.  Women in Morocco feel proud when they are able to support themselves.  And I am very proud to now be able to support not only myself, but also the other women who work for Saadia Organics.  This company has meant a big change for them and their families .

Any plans on how you would like to spend your new income?

I plan to buy a different apartment in Essaouira.  My current building is not in great shape and in need of some big repairs.  I want to find a “new” place – probably outside of the medina – that is safe and secure.

As the company grows, your need for more people to help make the oil grows. What kind of women would you like to hire?

I would like to grow the company and hire a lot more women.  And I also would like to do after work programs that teach these women – as most of them have never had the chance to go to school.  I particularly want to hire single moms, single women, and women who are supporting their families.  It is not easy for a woman to support herself and her children in Morocco alone. 

What has been the biggest challenge in becoming the Production Manager for Saadia Organics?

For me?  None really!  As we get busier I will be able to hire more women.  But that won’t be difficult.  It’s easy to find women who are willing to work in a safe, private place for good wages. 

What is your ultimate dream for Saadia Organics?

I would be excited to see this become a famous, international company.  Known for the best quality Argan Oil available.

How else might we help the women of Morocco?

Know that buying this oil is really helping change our lives over here.  And I want to say thank you – it means a lot to them.  And to me. 

Saadia and Greg on an Argan farm – March 2011

Review of Saadia Organics Argan Oil – by: Joyce Keller

Saadia and Joyce – Essaouira, March 2011

I guess I will start at the beginning about how I began using Saadia’s Argan Oil. My daughter, Joèl, called me one night in January 2011 and asked me if I would like to go to Morocco with her. It was a deal we couldn’t refuse. Since I had never been anywhere in Africa before, and with the encouragement from my husband, I decided to accept the chance of a lifetime to go.

The most exciting part for me was to meet Saadia, as what we had in common was the love for our granddaughter Eden. There was a language barrier between us, but we had no problem at all communicating with each other. We shared some great laughs together, even though we couldn’t speak the same language.

We soon found ourselves on a horse and buggy ride to the new store that had just opened in town. I bought a few things to bring home, and bought some gifts for Saadia.  I can honestly say that was the best shopping trip I have ever been on.

We spent the next couple of weeks together just being a family. I have to say, I loved her cooking. I have never had Moroccan food before, but couldn’t help indulging in her carefully made dishes.

Joyce, Joèl and Eden, in the medina in Essaouira, March 2011

I also fell in love with Essaouira. We were treated so well, and the people there couldn’t do enough for us. Our holiday went so fast, and soon it was time to leave. As a parting gift, Saadia presented me with a half litre of Argan Oil that she had made just for me.  I didn’t know too much about it at the time, other than what my daughter had told me. But I thought I would give it a try.

In the year 2000, I had gone through a very stressful time in my life. I found myself being the caretaker of my mom who was suffering with dementia. I was finding it hard to accept the changes that were happening. Needless to say, I aged very quickly in the 6 years to follow.  It really took a toll on me. And all of the tanning I did in my youth probably didn’t help either – it really seemed to catch up with me.

So I started using Saadia’s Argan Oil regularly as nothing else was helping. The skin on my cheeks was sagging, and the wrinkles were very noticeable. I used to compare my neck to a turkey’s neck.  And the vertical lines on my chest were that of an old woman. Needless to say, I would turn the other way when I would see someone I knew. That was not a nice feeling at all. I could sense the stares that I would get from old friends, knowing what they were thinking of me after I had aged so quickly.

I told Joèl I would give Saadia’s Argan Oil a review, but only an honest one. It has been over a year now that I have been using this liquid gold, as I like to call it. The difference in my skin is amazing. The skin on my face is now at least 80% better. I also used to have black heads on my nose and they have disappeared.  I always disliked my deep pores and they have also have been minimized a lot.  I would say by 90%!

I no longer have that turkey neck, and my chest is now nice and smooth. People can hardly believe the difference. I use the oil on my nails as well. I was always picking at the dry skin around my cuticles, but that doesn’t exist anymore. I use it in my coarse hair as an overnight treatment, and my hair is now soft and silky.

As I said, I would only write a review on this after I had some honest results. I noticed a big difference after 7 months of use.  Give it a try!

Remembering Amina

I’m not sure how many of you have heard about Amina Al Filali. She’s a sixteen year old Moroccan girl who found herself in an unthinkable position.

At fifteen she was raped. And under current law, her rapist had the choice to go to prison or to marry her. He chose the latter and forced Amina into marriage.

Needless to say, the marriage was not a pleasant one.  It is not surprising that he was often violent. Amina’s mother told her to be patient with him. But this young girl’s patience ran out and she bought the rat poison that ended her life.

To our eyes and ears this story is absolutely outrageous. And it is. But it is true, and many are fighting to have this law, which is originally found in the Old Testament, be abolished. Here is an article discussing the latest developments of this movement.

This story has haunted me since the first moment I heard about it over a month ago. I most often like to celebrate and bring attention to the marvelous things about Morocco. It is a country I’ve visited many times. I’ve married into one of its wonderful families. But like every other nation of the world, it has its shortcomings. Some of them major – especially with regard to women’s rights.

Women are now being educated in Morocco. They are able to go to university as long as they’d like to at absolutely no cost to them. Although even with a university degree, there is no guarantee of employment. Getting a job is certainly not a guarantee for the older women who have not had the privilege of going to school at all.

The West’s recent interest in the wonders of Argan Oil helped Moroccan women for a little while at the women’s cooperatives. But then the men saw that there was money to be made and they got involved. The female workers in the co-ops are now being paid very little for their back breaking labour. The average daily wage for a woman working in an Argan co-op is 40 dirhams per day. That amounts to only $4.74 US for 10 or more hours of hard work. That’s barely enough for that woman to buy a simple lunch for her family.

We can’t imagine paying Saadia (our Production Manager) and her team anything less than we’d have to pay in Canada. Canadian wages go a long way in Morocco. And we hope that our company will go a long way in helping women who would otherwise be unemployed or painfully underpaid.

Amina deserved to have a chance to go to university. To get a job. To marry a kind man of her choosing.

All Moroccan women – all women period – deserve those choices. As Saadia Organics grows, so do the opportunities for women young and old in Morocco. Thanks for being a part of that.

joèl~

 

Forget Botox – THIS is What You’ve Been Looking For

If you’re in the process of fighting wrinkles and trying to look a bit younger, have I got the ideal combination for you.

Do I love our Argan Oil? Of course I do. It has done amazing things for a lot of people, myself included. I love what it does to my hair. It’s cleaned up my sometimes raggedy cuticles. It keeps my dry skin soft and hydrated. It took care of my Angry Eyelids (a couple of times). And it helped reduce the appearance of the horizontal lines on my forehead.

But you know? Even though I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in my forehead lines, in certain light, I can still see them a bit (especially if I’ve been a bit stressed and do too much ‘eyebrow raising’ in a day).  And I know it’s silly, but those lines bug me.  I’m 36 years old.  I should expect a few wrinkles here and there.  But these forehead lines really get on my nerves.

It probably doesn’t help that I arrived at my daughter’s preschool just over a year ago to have one of her teachers laughing and eyeballing my forehead.  I obviously asked him what was so funny.  His response?

“Eden was drawing in the atelier.  She drew a big circle and started scribbling big black lines across the top of the circle.  I asked her what she was drawing.”

Her answer?

“My mommy’s forehead.”

My solution?

I asked Ainslie – my hair stylist, business partner and friend – to GIVE ME BANGS RIGHT NOW.

But I have a round face.  Bangs don’t work too well for me.  Plus they’re high maintenance.  So was I glad to have my mother-in-law, Saadia’s Argan Oil work so well.

But the lines.  I can still see them sometimes.

Until last night that is!

I went to this wonderful Lunar New Year’s event at Red Tree Wellness.  I’ve been seeing Sonia Tan on and off for 5 years.  She’s amazing and the results I’ve gotten from her treatments are staggering.  Dr. Sonia has never steered me wrong.  I love her to bits. So I was more than happy to attend Red Tree’s soiree last night.

The food was delicious, the company was lovely.  And the mini facials with acupuncture?  Out of this world!

My treatment started with an herbal mask.  Cool, refreshing and light.  Then it was time for the acupuncture.  I asked Chrystal to concentrate on my forehead.  I got two needles in my hands, and maybe about 8 in my face.  Then I drifted off for a good 10 minutes of flawless relaxation.  After that, the needles were removed, Saadia Organics Argan Oil was applied, and then I got a wonderful massage with a jade roller.

I left feeling like I’d spent the entire day at the spa.  And my forehead?  Looked virtually flawless.  I was shocked.  Even more shocking was how my facial muscles felt.  The last thing I wanted to do was do the ‘eyebrow raise’.  I could have forced it – my face certainly wasn’t ‘frozen’ as it would have been if I’d just had Botox.  But my forehead was so relaxed and it felt like it was far too much effort to hoist up my brows to create deeper wrinkles.

I am beyond impressed.  And this was just the ‘mini’ version of Red Tree’s Facial Acupuncture Rejuvenation Treatment.  I can’t imagine what the full 90 minute treatment would be like.   People would probably think I’m my 4 year old daughter’s teenaged sister.  😉

The best part?  All of the proceeds for the evening went to a wonderful cause.  Create Change is a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and providing access to those living without clean water, education, and health, in Africa.   At Saadia Organics, we’re glad to be employing women in North Africa to make our Argan Oil, and it was certainly nice to give to a worthy cause south of the Sahara.

All in all, last night was absolutely wonderful!  And if you’re looking for a solution to your wrinkles, consider going this natural route.  Forget Botox and face creams with a list of ingredients 100 miles long containing things you can’t pronounce.  I can’t imagine anything working better than Facial Acupuncture Rejuvenation and Argan Oil.

xo, j~

 

 

 

The Business of Fake Argan Oil

As a hair stylist, I ask every single person in my chair what products they use on their hair. And as Argan Oil is becoming more and more popular, I am hearing from many clients who have experience using it.

Having co-founded Saadia Organics, I am especially interested when my clients mention it. I want to know everything: where they bought it, how much it cost, what it smells like, what changes have they noticed in their hair.

Sadly, I have yet to come across a client who has actually found real, authentic Argan Oil.

It’s always the same story: they found a big bottle that cost very little that says something like “authentic Moroccan Argan Oil” on the label. Either it smells floral or like nothing at all. It is generally watery and even slimy in texture. The biggest reason I know it’s fake? I always bring out the sample bottle of Saadia Organics Argan Oil for my clients to try. And they can’t believe the difference!

Of course, there will be fake Argan Oil in the market. There is fake everything on the market. The problem is that even the fake stuff seems to work to some degree.  Putting any oil on your hair will make a small difference. My clients have noticed small changes and seem to like the fake Argan Oil. However, because it’s not real, the effects of the oil are not amazing. And so they are unaware of the true value of real Argan Oil.

Luckily, I am able to share a sample of the real thing with my clients. And when they try it, they fall in love with it.

So, how can you prevent yourself from wasting your money on fake oil?

You no longer have to worry. Saadia Organics actually has the genuine stuff! It is handmade by Saadia Organics co-founder Joèl’s mother-in-law and her relatives. And Saadia herself sends the oil directly to Vancouver.  And my clients couldn’t be happier!

Ainslie