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Fatema Mernissi

Caravane Civique
How did the Caravane Civique begin?
It was by listening to Jamila Hassoune dream out loud about a "flying carpet to bring books into the rural areas" that all began: "In 1001 Nights flying carpets are normal. Me, I dream about a flying library!" In the tiny library which she runs in Marrakech Jamila Hassoune realized that she had to go towards the reader in order to inspire him or her to buy books: "I already knew that the rural people were the future consumers of books in Morocco. They are the ones who are thirsty after knowledge."

With piles of books in the trunk of her Renault Express, she inaugurated her first "caravane civique" to High-Atlas villages. With a group of colleagues, she created the "Club de Lecture" (Reading Club). In 1999, she initiated a survey among 1,000 rural youths, aiming to inquire about their needs: "They dream of a paperback book for 10 dirhams," she concluded while showing the statistics. "Not only does the rural youth dream of informing itself, but they also dream of encounters," she adds, while once again 'caressing' the statistics under my nose like magic talismans. -- This is how the caravane civique began.

Jamila Hassoune