It’s been really wonderful to spend some time in Morocco with my mum. We visited some of the women that her foundation has helped over the past 20 years, and she couldn’t stop smiling.
I always really enjoy visiting Kasbah Tamadot, our riad that is nestled in the rugged landscape of the Atlas Mountains. It always feels quite fitting to visit with my mum as we wouldn’t own such a lovely property if it wasn’t for her. In 1998, my family and I were in Morocco for the start of a ballooning expedition when my parents stumbled upon the old Berber fortress. Mum knocked on the door, had tea with the owner and then told me she would disown me if I didn’t buy it and transform it into a Virgin Limited Edition retreat.
After we bought the property, my mother crossed the valley to visit the local villages and meet our neighbours. She met a young woman called Fatima who invited her in for mint tea and Mum ended up teaching her how to knit and sew. Before long, they’d started a knitting group of over 30 people so more women could come together to learn a new skill. It was from this knitting group that the Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) was created. The EBF centres teach young Berber women and men crafts such as weaving, carpet-making, woodwork, furniture-making, dressmaking and embroidery.
It was great to catch up with Fatima, who still works at the EBF, and many of the other women that the EBF has helped over the past two decades. It was really heart-warming how happy they all were to see my mum – and she was delighted too. The foundation is very close to her heart.
I also took a little time to go for a cycle with Vincent, our general manager, to ride over the incredibly beautiful mountains. The scenery surrounding Kasbah Tamadot is just breath-taking (as are the steep climbs!)
Thank you everyone for such a wonderful visit, I can’t wait to be back.