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Meet FRÉ Ambassador Khouloud Rafiq, Engineer and Travel, Fashion & Lifestyle Creator

Jude Jacob Kayton April 01, 2020

@africanberberwoman


About me:

I was born and raised in Alhoceima, a small city on the northern edge of the Rif mountains on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco. I’m currently living in New York City in the US. Both places are so different, but very exciting in their own way. I created my blog africanberberwoman.com and use it alongside my Instagram as a way of sharing my passions which are traveling, photography & fashion. It is also a way to show people beautiful places and different cultures around the world.

 

My Berber heritage

My Berber heritage comes from both of my parents. The Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa, and especially Morocco. They have been in this region for thousands of years. Their geographical area extends from North Africa, starting from the "Siwa" oasis in Egypt in the east to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the depths of the Sahara Desert in the south.

In the Amazigh heritage, this country is called "Tamzga." Their language is "Tamazight," and they are known by several names, the most important of which are the Berbers, Libyans, Numidians and Moors. But the name they chose for themselves was “Berbers” and means “free men” or “free people” or “noble free man.”

The Izourane Women’s Cooperative in Morocco

At FRÉ, all argan oil is sourced from the Izourane Women’s Cooperative in Morocco and theOne Set, One Tree program aims to replenish argan forests in Morocco and support the local community.

This is a great initiative because it helps Berber women to be economically independent by giving them the opportunity to have a job and earn a salary.

It also brings wealth to the Berber community through the salaries that Berber women earn. Finally, the goal of the program is laudable because by replenishing argan forests they not only bring back an ancient Berber tradition but also ensure the sustainability of the community going forward.

 

Morocco

The best thing about Morocco is the diversity of landscapes, the Moroccan cuisine, the culture and it’s hospitable people and safety.  Morocco offers different sights and landscapes: mountains filled with snow in winter, the Sahara desert where you can enjoy camel rides in the dunes, beautiful beaches where you can surf in the south, turquoise clear waters in the north and ancient medinas where you can experience historical and cultural moments. 

 

Women’s empowerment in 2020

Women empowerment in Morocco and the USA are at different stages. In Morocco, I am one of the very few young women from my hometown to complete a university degree; the vast majority of women who went to school with me dropped out of school before starting higher education. The ratio of young educated females to males remains low in Morocco, and the number of women participating in the formal labor force is also below average compared to the US. Additionally, there are still laws with provisions that work against progress toward gender equality and, obviously, give men the upper hand in familial, social, political, and economic matters. However, some progress for women’s empowerment is being made. More Moroccan civil society leaders are working closely with communities to address issues of gender inequality

I consider myself lucky to have been raised by parents who appreciate education and that have always empowered me to go beyond what is expected from a woman in Morocco.

 

Becoming a travel, fashion and lifestyle creator

Six months before moving to the USA. I stopped working as a Civil Engineer and that was the moment I thought about creating africanberberwoman.com. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel and discover many new countries. I created my blog and used it as a way of sharing my passions which are traveling, photography & fashion. It is also a way to show people beautiful places and different cultures around the world.

It all started like a hobby but when I moved to Boston, I received many emails from different brands asking for collaborations. It was then when I asked myself if I could take my blog and social media handles to another level. It actually worked pretty well and I still enjoy doing it.

 

My top lifestyle tips for the FRÉ community

  • Eating a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat, saturated fats and sugar.
  • Meditation
  • At least 30 minutes of workouts a day
  • Practice sacred self-love

 

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:

Favorite exercise?Dancing

What comes to mind when you think of FRÉ?Fresh, healthy skin

What are you most excited about in life right now?Traveling and learning new things

What’s something you’d still love to learn?Drawing and singing

What is your favorite FRÉ? I AM LOVE, its smell of the five mixed oils reminds me of Morocco.

What does sweat mean to you?Satisfaction. When I sweat I know that I’ve pushed my body.

If you were a hashtag, what would you be?#freedom

What is your mantra? When it feels too much return to your breath

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received in your life?Be yourself and do good without expecting anything in return

What is an issue that you wish we spoke about more often?Climate change

What does it mean to be a woman today?Going beyond what our mothers thought was possible. Feeling confident that we can do anything, be anything. Working in a man’s world, while still living in a woman’s world.

What’s one skincare tip you swear by?Sunscreen


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