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An Industrious Amazigh Woman Rescues Her Co-op From Exploitation

by Janet Ashforth

Posted on April 21, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Essaouira, Morocco — Essaouira is a picturesque port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Golden, 18th-century seafront ramparts protect its medina (old town), old brass cannons line the walls, and cobalt blue fishing boats line the harbor. Essaouira is a tourist dream. But for some of the local women, life in Essaouira can be something of a nightmare. Why? Because these women eke out a meager existence by cracking tiny fruit seeds against a stone to extract a minuscule drop of argan oil out of each seed. After the women break the seed kernels, they grind them on a circular stone mill to squeeze the valuable oil out. And they do this all day, every day — for pennies.

At least they used to work for pennies until Samira Tiktoutj decided she’d had enough.

Liquid Gold

Argan Oil (Arkhan) is an elixir steeped in history and tradition whose origins date back 4,000 years. In 1219, an Andalusian doctor, Ibn Al Baythar, wrote a paper about the benefits of the potion, and it’s been touted as a miracle beauty ingredient ever since. Big cosmetics brands like L’oreal eventually caught on to the plethora of benefits Argan oil offers, including its anti-aging properties, and Argan oil became a burgeoning industry. But this liquid gold isn’t easy to come by.

The Cost of Beauty

The Amazigh women have inhabited Morocco for generations. And they’ve learned to use the land and its resources, including the argan tree. They are the only ones who know how to perform the labor-intensive steps to extract the Argan oil. Since Argan oil is expensive, these women are precious indeed. Big-name cosmetic companies charge big bucks for their Argan oil products, but the women who harvest the oil make the equivalent of $250.00 a month for their extensive knowledge and back-breaking labor. And that’s where Samira Tiktoutj comes in.

Samira Tiktoutj and Suzanne Save the Day

Samira Tiktoutj worked in an Argan Oil cooperative with nine other Amazigh women. The women were pitched the idea of a cooperative as a way for them to have better pay and working conditions, but it turns out the cooperative managers were the ones who benefited the most. Samira grew tired of living hand-to-mouth and watching her co-op colleagues be unable to keep food on the table. That’s when Samira met a curious, friendly American tourist named Suzanne who told her about a company called GlobeIn. And Samira listened.

GlobeIn is a fair-trade, subscription-based company that connects artisans like the Amazigh women with customers like you who enjoy high-quality, hand-crafted items at reasonable prices. GlobeIn enables artisans like Samira to cut out the middle man and work for themselves. That way, they receive a fair wage for their skills, gain independence, and provide a quality life for themselves and their families. And it just so happens, a couple of GlobeIn’s most popular subscription boxes contain beauty products made from Argan Oil. And one subscription box Suzanne received held an Argan oil product, which was what made her curious about Samira’s work. Suzanne subscribes to GlobeIn because she loves the products and wants to support artisans like Samira. Through an interpreter, Suzanne told Samira about GlobeIn and helped connect her to one of the company representatives. Samira and her friends from the co-op now work for themselves and offer their Argan oil products directly to customers worldwide through the GlobeIn platform. And their pay has quadrupled.

Get a Box

Like Suzanne, you can save the day when you subscribe to GlobeIn. They’ll send a curated package of handmade crafts to your door every month. Also, GlobeIn’s monthly box of high-quality goodies makes fantastic gifts for your loved ones. GlobIn’s Artisan Spa Box is a favorite way to relieve stress. It contains:

  • Poncho from Turkey
  • Handmade candles from Burma (Single) — Assorted
  • Dried Roses from Morocco
  • Fair Trade Lavender Bubble Bath
  • Fair Trade Coconut Oil

So, just by changing where you shop, you can support companies like GlobeIn, who strive to make the world a better place. Give GlobeIn a try. Samira and her Co-op will thank you for it.

Leave a Comment:
Sarah Smith
I love this company! They're helping women while sending me amazing stuff lol!
Addison Lewis
OMG I'm crying!
Harrison Ferris
What a touching story. Glad to hear that there are companies out there trying to make a difference!
Maria Gonzales
LOVE GlobeIn. Mom and I call each other when our gifts arrive every month!
Merrly Lynn
Steph Jackson
Told all my friends about this just today!