The Centre for the Mother and Child (Markaz al-Umm wa al-Tifl) is located in Matamoulana, a village in the Saharan-Sahelian desert to the south east of the country. Matamoulana, which means ‘God-given’, has an estimated population of 3000 people and is considered a Madinah Tarbawiyah or village of learning. This is because of the presence of numerous Quranic schools in the village. Shaykh Al-Hajj Abdallah Ould Mishry is the head of the illustrious village.
Matamoulana also has a Jumuah Mosque, four smaller mosques, kindergartens, three primary schools and a high school. It’s exactly this combination of the availability of Quranic and secular schools, as well as a clean, desert environment, that attract people from all over the country to settle in Matamoulana to educate their children.
It is also well-known for its mahdharah (traditional Mauritanian Islamic educational centres) which is attended by students from all over Africa.
What makes this village really special is the vision of its founder, Shaykh Muhammad Mishry (1917-1975), the father of Shaykh Al-Hajj Abdallah Mishry. He established the village in 1958 as a village of learning and, since inception, it has attracted people from all over the country. Mauritanians identify strongly with their ethnic groups and tribes, and Matamoulana has to be one of the most culturally diverse places in Mauritania (outside of the main cities). His vision saw the establishment of a mahdharah (for men) as well as regular teaching for women. Later on, this mantle was carried forward by Shaykh Al-Hajj Abdallah, who saw to the establishment of many Quran Schools and formal, structured teaching for women.
In 2004 / 1425H, under the guidance of Shaykh Al-Hajj, space was rented close to the center of the village and the Centre of the Mother and Child was officially opened.