Sahraouiya orienteering race officially ends with an exciting closing ceremony where despite physical tiredness and several sunburns, all participants: women, organizers, local and international authorities achieved a success in 5-day orienteering race in Dakhla.
On the last day of the event- 4th of February, prizes were awarded to the winners of the race and grants were given to the local authorities of Dakhla Oued-Eddahab Region. Also, tributes were paid to Ms. Aicha Ech-Chenna- President of the Women’s Solidarity Association and Ms. Latifa Cherif- President of the Friends of the Rose Ribbon Association. The closing ceremony began with singing the National Anthem, followed by the video projection showing the highlights from the Sahraouiya orienteering race. Indeed, this 5-day orienteering race in the Sahara Desert was unforgettable experience because of the perfectly balanced mix between wind, desert and the ocean.
Sahraouiya event received an international support both on the land and up in the sky. Samsung Electronics -a global information technology leader, supported this event with electronic gadgets, that helped participants during the race. Royal Air Maroc– the official carrier and partner of Sahraouiya, awarded first place winners with the flights to Europe. The biggest supporter of Sahraouiya event was Dakhla Lagoon Association (DLA) that aims to organize various events in Dakhla involving water sports. Since the beginning of foundation, DLA hosted several world kitesurfing championships such as – PKRA and GKA. In terms of supporting the local community, DLA founded a sports school and funded project for teaching children to do watersports in Dakhla.
To look behind the scenes of Sahraouiya we have asked 3 prominent women – Leila Ouachi, Najlaa Hachami and Manuela Lanza, to tell their stories and share their experiences about Sahraouiya event.
First woman – Leila Ouachi is the main organizer, who joined Sahraouiya last year and now has a great future vision for this event. The initial idea of Sahraouiya was to create an orienteering race just for European woman. However, the concept of this event has changed towards more open, multi-cultural, international event primarily focusing on empowering women in Morocco. Now, all associations and women from around the world can take part in Sahraouiya event. For example, well-known association – Association Solidarité Féminine (ASF), which was founded by Aicha Ech-Chenna in 1985 and helps single mothers to fight for their poor rights and gain work experience by training them at the association’s restaurant, patisserie and hammam“.
Second woman – Najlaa Hachami from Casablanca is a member of Association Solidarité Féminine. This year, for the first time, she participated in Sahraouiya orienteering race. There were two reasons why she was participating in the race “first- I liked the concept of Sahraouiya and second- at the end I knew I was helping someone”. When asked how she can describe this event her answer was simple “Nothing is impossible!”. She says that “participation at this event brings a lot of positive emotions, you actually feel like pushing your limits. After the event I feel much stronger not only physically but also mentally, it’s like a journey of self-discovery, rather than race”.
Third woman – Manuela Lanza is well-known CNN and Thomson Reuters journalist from Italy, recently started her travel YouTube channel ‘Husband Hunter’. It was her first time at Sahraouiya orienteering race and she explains that it was a very challenging race both professionally and physically. Firstly, her personal aim was to make an interesting vlog, so she was filming while racing and editing footage instead of recovering. Then she faced the second challenge during the race, she didn’t realize that physical preparation was a must before the race. Nonetheless, Manuela finished the race and now says “this event shows that women can be very strong in any situation, especially when they push themselves out of their comfort zone.”
Teamwork is a very important aspect of this event, because you have to think not only about yourself but also help, motivate and work together with another person. If you want to achieve a victory it always requires the effort of every team member. Therefore, achieving a success of Sahraouiya event requires to unify beliefs of all the organizers, sponsors and women around the world, that together we can make this world a better place to live.
Sahraouiya team thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of this event and invites everyone to follow news and updates on the official facebook page of Sahraouiya.