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Yasmina Filali

Before creating the Fondation Orient-Occident, Yasmina Filali was the director of Communications at Drouot in Paris and the Head of Projects for the Union of Mediterranean Universities in Rome. She has a PHD in Art History from La Sorbonne, Paris. Yasmina is a consultant for RSE enterprises. She founded the Fondation Orient-Occident in 1994 to address the need of the underprivileged Moroccan youth. In light of the current crisis, she extended the Foundation’s advocacy work and expanded its expertise in order to work with refugees and migrants. In 2008, the Foundation Orient-Occident was awarded the Human Rights Prize by the French Republic, and in 2016 Yasmina was awarded with the prize for Social Entrepreneurship of the Year 2016 by the Foundation Schwab in partnership with the World Economic Forum. Since 2017, Fondation Orient-Occident is also present in Italy in the city of Lecce.

Contact via
Hybrid Social Enterprise
Education and Skills; Workforce and Employment; Migration
Areas of Impact
Middle East & North Africa, Europe, Italy, Morocco

Fondation Orient-Occident

The defence of human rights is a priority for the Fondation Orient-Occident. For this reason, it is strongly engaged for the cause of migrants and refugees. Fondation Orient-Occident is committed to the issues of migration and unemployment. It aims at bridging the gap between the multiple cultures and realities existing across the shores of the Mediterranean. It does this by promoting integration and providing social and psychosocial support, training programmes, and a wide range of intercultural activities with the intention of opening up a mutual dialogue.

In fact Fondation Orient-Occident is engaged to concurrently promote integration at a dual level: on the one hand, it aims to integrate underprivileged Moroccans, sub-Saharan migrants and refugees within Moroccan society; on the other hand, it works to improve and facilitate the voluntary return of migrants to their own countries. In order to address the lack of professional skills for the long-term unemployed in Morocco, the Fondation Orient Occident created vocational training centres in underprivileged districts, serving more than 8,000 beneficiaries per year in sectors such as hospitality and IT.

Considering the increasing flow of migrants and refugees, the Fondation Orient-Occident expanded its humanitarian programming to embrace both non-Moroccan and Moroccan citizens, migrants and refugees. Today the foundation supports more than 1,000 refugees in its programmes, 50% of whom are from Syria. The remaining 50% come from sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, fleeing instability and conflict. More than 60% of the foundation’s beneficiaries are under the age of 29 and 60% of them are women. For women refugees who have been victims of sexual violence, the Fondation Orient-Occident runs “safe apartments” in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)and offers psychosocial support. Overall the foundation has played an important role in Morocco's change of policy towards migrants and refugees, helping to secure a legislative victory in 2014 enabling refugees to legally work in the country rather than be forced into informal employment or onward migration.