Basma Association

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BASMA Association
Founded March 7, 2000
Founder Leila Ben Ali
Focus " BASMA Association for the Promotion of Employment for the Disabled Persons"

The BASMA Association for the Promotion of Employment of the Disabled is a Charitable association. It was established on March 7, 2000, by Mrs. Leila Ben Ali, the wife of the former president of the Republic of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The BASMA (meaning “smile” in Arabic) Association seeks to back up the State’s efforts in the integration of the disabled, particularly by contributing to enhancing their employment, offering them assistance in finding jobs in both the public and private sectors and also in starting their own projects. The association endeavors to disseminate the spirit of initiative and the sense self-reliance amongst the disabled and persons with specific needs, so as to repel the notion of dependency and to urge them to actively contribute to their own integration in the socio-economic circuit. BASMA contributes also to the training and employment of the disabled, and aids them market their products and participate in various trade fairs and events.


BASMA’s essential aim is to promote the employment of disabled persons either as wage-earners or as self-employed. In order to attain this goal, the association endeavors to prepare disabled individuals for professional life by providing or extending the training opportunities and by ensuring their educational integration at a very early pre-school age. Amongst the major aims of the association are:

  1. The integration of the disabled into the economic circuit as wage-earners or self-employed
  2. The exploration of new employment fields and areas
  3. The rehabilitation[1] and training of the disabled
  4. The follow-up and supervision of the disabled
  5. Awareness-raising


BASMA’s action is not confined to the employment of the disabled. It seeks also to offer different types of services including health and leisure in order to help persons with specific needs to merge within the society and pull them out from the state and feeling of loneliness and marginalization. Thus, and as part of its relentless endeavor to assist the disabled to integrate into socio-economic circuit, the association has proceeded on several occasions to the distribution of various kinds of equipment to help this category launch their own projects in different domains and areas such as sewing, seaming, and broidery, silk painting, silver manufacturing, and gardening.

  • The BASMA Club is a friendly space which offers a multitude of services for the benefit of the disabled and persons with specific needs. Its essential objective is to help these categories lead a quasi- normal life and ultimately integrate the society. The club includes several facilities, namely workshops, art clubs, a swimming pool, a library, sports and play areas, health and therapy tracks, as well as coffee shops and food areas. The club also offers its members training in numerous areas such as ICT’s, handicrafts, music, painting, and sports activities.
  • The BASMA Computer Center for the blind and the partially sighted which offers training sessions.
  • The Tele-servicing Unit (e-services) to leverage persons with disabilities knowledge of ICT’s; this unit allows persons with disabilities to have remote access to various administrative and social services, next of course to Internet access.
  • The BASMA Call Center offers remote phone services for enterprises and the public. The center operates in collaboration with the Tunisian telecommunications company “Tunisie Télécom” and the national post-office “La Poste Tunisienne[2] La Poste Tunisienne” for the processing of customers’ phone calls. The center employs more than 40 operators, 80% of whom are persons with disabilities.
  • E-tasswik[3] (e-marketing) is an electronic trade center for e-marketing handcrafted products made by disabled persons. This e-commerce portal aims at helping this category of people promote and sell their products via Internet.


The BASMA Association has always endeavored to set up and uphold effective partnership relationships with several governmental and non-governmental structures operating in the field of the rehabilitation and employment of the disabled. It is within this frame that BASMA set up a network of relations with national and international bodies so as to bestow further efficiency upon its operations. This has culminated in the signature of partnership and cooperation agreements with the following bodies:

-The Tunisian Solidarity Bank (BTS)

-The National Agency for Employment and Independent Work[4] (ANETI)

-The Tunisian Professional Training Agency (ATFP)

-The Tunisian Solidarity Union[5](UTS)

-The Institute for the Promotion of the Disabled (IPH)

The First Lady’s noble actions of care and love in favor of the disabled and individuals with specific needs have brought smile (“basma”) back to them and have drawn the attention of the Arab and International community to this extraordinary enterprise. As a matter of fact, several delegations have, and still, come from different parts of the world to observe BASMA’s actions and achievements and in search of inspiration too. The admirable First Lady’s initiatives earned her respect, esteem, and distinctions from regional and international instances. Recently, the Arab Women’s Organization, which is now being chaired by Mrs. Leila Ben Ali, paid her a vibrant and a well-deserved tribute for her humanist deeds. Besides, the participants in the international conference which was held in Tunis on December 7–9 in and entitled “Together for the Promotion of Employment and Protection of Categories with Specific Needs” adopted the First Lady’s opening address as reference document for their proceedings.


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