After a stop of several months, we are back with our column “STORIES FROM ANOTHER WORLD”, featuring a truly special chapter! Today, we chose the story of Moufida, the director of the Oxy Jeunes center in Tozeur, Tunisia, a strong and determined woman who, thanks to her dedication to the youth, has had a tremendous impact on the community where she lives.

Since the beginning of 2023, we have been supporting the Oxy Jeunes center, and we have seen enormous results in this center and the community where it was born. However, we could never tell you about them in the same way Moufida does, with the heartfelt emotion she shares when talking about youth and what they’re doing for the community.


“I am Moufida Hachef, 36 years old, graduated in English literature and civilization.

I come from a poor family, with limited means and resources, with 6 children. My mother was a homemaker and never went to school, so her dream was for her daughters to have a diploma, which ignited ambition in us to study.

I always ranked first in class, earned a degree without ever needing private tutoring. All my classmates during the baccalaureate had to take private lessons for philosophy or Arabic, but I never had the means or the opportunity. The first time I left my neighborhood was to go to university.

I tasted all the flavors of poverty. Every year I used second-hand books from our neighbor; I never went on field trips; I saw my classmates going on trips, but I could not. I always wore hand-me-down clothes from my neighbors because we were a large family, and my father worked however, he could to support us, which was the main motivation behind my ambition in studying.

When I got my diploma, I started teaching children to support my family economically, to allow my siblings to study. My sister had also started her master’s. I wanted to repay my father for the money he invested in my education and help my siblings study.

Even in university, I had only one dinar a day while my classmates spent tens of dinars a day. I never made it to the first morning lesson because I didn’t have money for the taxi. I didn’t have a government scholarship because my father had a job, so I wasn’t eligible.

When I graduated, in August, I started teaching at home for children. Nevertheless, the property owner didn’t want children in the house and forbade me from teaching there. I gave my father part of the earnings and kept a part for myself to start a kindergarten project. In September 2011, I rented a house. Every day from 8 in the morning until 8 at night, I taught the children, but I felt it wasn’t my dream, my mission in life… because that way, I saw the child as a source of income and not from an educational perspective. And that didn’t belong to me.


Therefore, I started doing volunteer work in associations. In 2015, I decided to close the kindergarten, despite earning well and helping my siblings study and my father buy a house. However, that wasn’t what I wanted for my life; I wanted to help people who had lived a childhood like mine. By volunteering, I met a colleague, who told me that the director of the Amal center wanted to leave her position but they hadn’t found anyone. She explained how the center worked, and so I applied.

I then made an appointment with Monia, founder and supervisor of the center, and I found myself in front of a very strong woman, not a strict person but dedicated to the children, whom I immediately began to admire. After a trial period and shadowing, in December 2015, I started working alone and made a small revolution in the center, changing the way we worked with educators and expanding horizons by seeking new partners. Before, everything was within the walls, and I tried to open up to collaborate with other partners, local authorities, and institutions.

And so it began, every year I make new developments for the center. Thanks to Monia, the founder of the center, and her guidance, I improved in report writing, planning, relationship with educators… she supported me step by step, and I am grateful to her for that.


NHI In 2017, I decided I wanted to expand our offering by supporting young people even after the ninth year of school because it was important to keep the youth within the association. Unfortunately, the association director at that time did not accept the proposal. After various discussions, he finally accepted. I saw the future of the association in those young people because we had trained them, and it didn’t make sense to send them away.

So I started doing small activities with them (video editing, writing resumes, internet). These young people grew up and started proposing activities at the center, taking on some responsibilities, helping us with activities where there were more children.

In 2019, the association committee changed, and Semia, the new president, appreciated the work done and the loyalty of the young people and families, valuing our work. She gave me more autonomy and started looking for new funding.

After the isolation of Covid and the subsequent lack of funds, in January 2021, I was alone with a girl who came a few hours a week, and young volunteers to help. During 2021, Marco and Anand joined us as volunteers, and they helped me manage activities with the young people. So we started language support courses, as academic support. We organized outings, financed by them, and they also contributed to the distribution of school kits in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

With them, new opportunities have arisen, foreign partners have come to discover our center, and that’s how we met New Humanity International in January 2022.

In January 2023, NHI funding began, and we were able to expand the staff, allowing us to SPREAD OUR WINGS AND EXPAND ACTIVITIES, purchase new materials, and expand our offerings.


Currently, the center is truly the second home of young people; we’ve done everything together, which has increased their sense of belonging. They chose the name themselves: Oxy Jeunes. For them, the center is this: oxygen, to breathe freedom, joy, and express themselves freely. There are no stereotypes or gender discrimination here; males and females do the same things, helping everyone with anything, serving tea and coffee, playing with the younger children… I try to involve them in any decision because I see them as the future of the center.

We’ve given young people the opportunity to participate in international exchanges, in France and Morocco, and in Turkey on children’s rights in the Arab world. I want to give them the chance to see the foreign world, even to discover that it’s not always better to go abroad… there are problems everywhere, and living conditions can be tough even abroad.

We’ve created an advisory council of young people, composed of 10 young people who plan COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES. For example, at the end of Ramadan, they organized a food drive for poor families, they organized the renovation of public school buildings in the neighborhood through murals or cleaning work. A true sign of hope in a poor neighborhood like ours.

Mahmood represents the center to partners, as president of the youth council. Seeing him present the center to partners fills me with pride, like that of a mother. Mahmood grew up here, and when I see him take on more responsibilities, I feel truly proud of what we’ve done together.

Jinen is a girl who lost her father and lives with her grandparents. She had never been to the sea; as soon as we got on the bus for the summer vacation, she hugged me and thanked me for the great opportunity to go to the sea. When we entered the water, she swam towards me and hugged me excitedly.

Abdelkader, an 18-year-old boy, had left school because of a problem with a teacher and didn’t want to go to school anymore. He stayed home in 2020, and then he came to the center; being among the young people, he started attending activities, and he wanted to go to school again. When he arrived, he had deviant behavior, smoked, misbehaved… but then the environment here changed him. We supported him in the request for school reinstatement, forwarded directly to the education delegation, and then in 2023, he resumed school, which he now attends regularly to get his diploma.

I don’t have children, and I dedicate myself to them as if they were my own children. This prevents me from participating in family events; I’ve turned down marriage proposals to dedicate myself entirely to the center. I see the center as my life project, also because I see myself in the story of these children. With few means, without the possibility of finding a space like this that would give me opportunities. I speak to the children telling them to seize all these opportunities, and also to the parents to tell them that a center like this can launch them into a better future.

The educators also work very hard, and I feel responsible for everyone.

I speak proudly of the center; there are generations that have passed through the center… there’s someone who has become a teacher, who went to work in the theater. There’s a boy who teaches at school, and the principal thanked us because he’s always creative and proactive.

My family’s story is poor, but they instilled stability and good values in us; we were always happy. That’s why I managed to become strong and fight for the children. It’s thanks to my family. My mother fought to educate us because she firmly believed that this was the future for her daughters. It’s also thanks to them that the center is now a reality.”

We can only admire Moufida’s story and try in every way to support and nurture her dream, which is inspiring so many young people who want to contribute to their community.

Thank you, Moufida!