Today is International Women’s Day: a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our BLOOM community to Ms. Rita Zniber, a philanthropic Moroccan business woman without whom BLOOM’s origin story would be very different. As many of our supporters know, my sister and I cofounded BLOOM after adopting from an orphanage in Meknes, Morocco. The founder and president of that orphanage is Ms. Zniber, who along with her late husband, built a multi-million dollar empire in the food and beverage industry through their company Diana Holding.
In March 1988, Ms. Zniber happened to discover a room of infants abandoned at the Mohammed V Hospital in Meknes, Morocco. According to Zniber Foundation’s website, “If in the three weeks following their birth they were not adopted, they would die covered in bed sores, in unspeakable distress! There was no winter or summer air conditioning in this room, no hot water, no sterile baby bottles, hardly any laundry, no medicine, many milk leaks, many cockroaches, and no staff officially assigned to this service.”
Ms. Zniber was heartbroken and immediately took action through an active collaboration with the Mohammed V Hospital. Eventually, after taking over an unused wing on the hospital’s top floor, and opening another facility across town for older children, she officially established the Rita Zniber Foundation with a mission to improve the care of abandoned children in the Meknes-Tafilalet region, facilitate in-country and international adoptions through kafala, and advocate for the protection and rights of children in Morocco.
Today, the Zniber Foundation fully supports approximately 350 children between its two facilities. BLOOM Charity is a proud partner, having built play spaces in both of Zniber’s facilities; a rooftop PlayGarden for younger children at Le Nid orphanage, and a fitness room for older children at the Annex.
“The Foundation welcomes the active involvement of all of its institutional and private partners. No one can deny or overshadow Morocco’s numerous efforts and progress in the area of the protection and promotion of children’s rights in particular, but there is still a long way to go. Together, let’s ensure that ‘The child who should be more respected than anyone, is not less than anyone!”