Events for women in Algiers

In Algeria word-of-mouth is still the most efficient way of finding things out for the foreign women living here, whether it be where to find that vital elusive ingredient to make a favourite recipe from ‘back home’ or who knows a good specialist in the medical field for an ailment, or which market is the best place to find a special something for the house.  It has been helped enormously by the mobile phone, but most importantly the internet, at first through forums and in more recent years through Facebook, be it on someone’s status update or through groups established specifically for women with connections to Algeria, more on these later. 

A lot of mosques have Arabic literacy classes, ‘Mahou El-Oummi’ for women of all ages, and these can be helpful for foreign women, up to a point.  Usually it’s all done in Arabic, with a little of the local dialect, derja, when necessary, and it starts with the alphabet and works towards a certificate of education.  I was fortunate enough to attend one class whose teacher was one of the best I’ve ever come across throughout all my education, and who also spoke enough English to get me through the more intricate explanations of Arabic grammar.  Without this help I would have been totally lost, and would probably have given up quite early on.  In addition, although I could read and write Arabic (barely), the local women, once they had mastered these abilities, could then understand what they were reading, while I couldn’t, not having the vocabulary in the first place like they did.  But I would urge anyone interested to at least give their local mosque a try.  By the way I found out about this class from a friend who was visiting Algeria on holidays and who went to the mosque near HER friend where she found the class.

Amongst the language classes that the University of Algiers provides are Arabic classes for foreigners, although there is a slim chance that this class may be mixed.  I know a few sisters who attended these classes (I attended two but it was too far for me to travel on a regular basis) and for whom the class was solely for women, but technically it’s for both men and women.

In addition some mosques hold Qur’an classes, some for memorisation, and some also hold classes in Ahkam Tajweed, which is the rules of recitation of the Qur’an.  Many people don’t know that there are quite a few women here in Algeria who have memorised the whole Qur’an and there are some who have received Ijaza and who are teaching it. There are also halaqas held in the mosque for both men and women, and some mosques also hold classes such as computer courses for women.

There is also the government run ‘Centre De Formation’ which are local centers holding classes in specialised cooking, baking, sewing and other crafts as well as languages.  The price is minimal and often materials are provided.  In addition many women hold classes in cookery, baking and sewing in their homes and these are often discovered by word-of-mouth.

The Hopeland Language Institute in Cheraga provides language classes (amongst others such as Chinese!) in Arabic for beginner and advanced level for non-Arabic speakers.  More information can be found on their website http://www.hopelanddz.com./index.html. Another lady has started an alternative language school in Algiers, details of which can be found at http://www.americanenglishplus.com/ .

As I have mentioned previously on my blog, monthly get-togethers are held on the 1st Saturday of every month (except for Ramadan) for English speaking women, Muslim and non-Muslim, in different homes throughout the city of Algiers and its suburbs.  The hostess is someone who has temporarily lost her sanity and offers to host this illustrious gathering of women who are often at the end of their tether and desperate for a conversation in English with someone – anyone – with whom the level of conversation can rise above that of a child.  The main rules for these monthly meetings are the timing, from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm, bring something edible (be it savoury or sweet, and/or a cold drink) and the only children allowed are up to the age of 2 and girls over the age of 10.  The location of these meetings are usually announced at the previous one, advertised through Facebook and known by word-of-mouth.

Also on Facebook there are several groups set up as sources of support and information for women only who have connections to Algeria:

-       Algerian Wifeys -  https://www.facebook.com/groups/111948415561970/

-       Nourishing Families in Algeria -  https://www.facebook.com/groups/NourishingFamiliesDZ/

-       El Djazaïriya - The Algerian Women's Social Support Social Support Community  - https://www.facebook.com/groups/ElDjazairWomen/

-       DZ Creative Circle is a group for ‘for creative ladies living in Algeria (those that don't create but appreciate the beauty of handmade are welcome too!).It is a place to share ideas and knowledge about all and everything....artsy.’ - https://www.facebook.com/groups/634512683238439/

Several of the women involved in this circle also have Facebook pages of their own to showcase their unique work two of which can be found here:


-       Homemade jewellery at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Something-special/397106827030907

-    A gift shop/jewellery shop opened here in Algiers by women - https://www.facebook.com/silverrosedz/
 

There are a lot of other women in Algeria, both ex-pat and native, who have a creative talent and who would like to showcase their work, improve on their skills or maybe learn new ones.  As a result of this demand a new group was formed as an umbrella called Almubdiaat - The Creatives, and its ‘aim is to encourage women in their business ambitions by providing support, friendship, knowledge and exciting selling opportunities.’  Their website is:
https://www.facebook.com/almubdiaat

One sister hosted a bring-and-buy recently where women could bring any goods they wanted to sell including their artwork, and it was such a success that she has now decided to hold one on a monthly basis.  Again, details of where and when can be found on Facebook, or word-of-mouth.  As a result of the success of this event a Facebook page was created which has been very useful for women to buy and sell online, with many showcasing their wares which can then be seen and bought at the next bring-and-buy event.

Last but by no means least, one sister has been writing her own cookery blog for a couple of years now on ‘simple yet careful from scratch home-cooking in the Mediterranean, specifically the country of Algeria’ and she can be found on
http://thetealtadjine.blogspot.com/p/about.html

There are many Facebook groups focused on different aspects of life in Algeria geared towards those of us who have moved here from abroad, and they range in subjects from women letting each other know when and where they have found a particular ingredient that is difficult to find, to places to go and fun days out for the family, a medical group where women can find names and address of recommended doctors, dentists and other medical professionals as well as other medical information, a gardening group to help women to learn to adjust to gardening in this totally different climate, right through to a group focused on the monthly meetings and the general sisterhood here in Algeria.  All of these groups are either closed or secret groups and are primarily for those foreign English speaking women living here in Algeria, but all have been very successful in helping to bring like-minded women together and as a wonderful source of help and information Alhamdulilah.
 
With the number of women moving to Algeria from all over the world growing every year, many little communities have sprung up whereby women get together on a smaller scale for coffee, shopping, crafting etc. and this has ensured that, whatever the location, any woman moving to Algeria in the near future will have some kind of local support inshallah.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s going on in Algeria specifically for women, as I have not mentioned the swimming pools or gyms with women only days, or the beach not that far from us which is open twice a week for women and children only, but I think it gives an insight into the many activities and, dare I say it, opportunities here in Algeria for any woman who has a passion for creativity or business acumen in one way or another and who wishes to fulfil her potential.









































 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 











5 comments:

  1. Hi! I was really happy to come across your blog. I would like to meet other expat women. The links to the FB sites were dead. If you would let me know how to email you, I would really appreciate more information on the monthly ladies'get together, where I can take Arabic classes, and just pick your brain in general about where to find food items, clothes, etc. in Algiers. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for your comment and for pointing out that the links are out of date...I probably shouldn't use any really as they will all become out of date eventually, the internet being the transient thing it is! You can email me at evelynburke62@gmail.com. I'm happy to help in any way I can inshallah!

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    2. I've just been through all the links and I have found that only 2 of the links in my post were obsolete and I've deleted them....perhaps because the other links are to closed or secret groups you don't have access to them.

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  2. Assalamu aleykum. Could you please tell me how i can attend one of these monthly gatherings. Thank you for all the info above. Take care. Fatma

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    1. Walaykum asalaam wa rahmatulah. By any chance - have you put a post in on the Nourishing Families Facebook page? If so you can send me a Private Message and I will ensure that you are added to the right Facebook page for the monthly meetings inshallah.

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