Fujairah, UAE: Four years ago, Sendea Al Kindi could not read or write her children’s names. Now, with a helping hand from Umm Al Mumineen Adult Education Centre, her life has changed completely.
The 50-year-old had missed out on vital parts of her education after she was married.
“Knowing how to read and write was my one and only wish,” she said. “I had difficulties at first but the teachers at the centre helped me a lot. Education has lit up my life; it is as if I was living in the dark.
“I joined the centre four years ago. Now I can read my children’s names and know the expiry date of the food I buy. I feel like I have been born again.”
Like Mrs Al Kindi, many of the pupils at the centre had dropped out of school at an early age but were now determined to continue their education.
Rahmeh Abdullah, 48, said she always had a desire to complete her education. She initially dropped out of school in 1978 after the sixth grade, got married and had children.
“In 2013, and 35 years after quitting school, I decided to continue my studies,” she said. “It wasn’t that easy and I had so many issues and obstacles to overcome. But with the determination, and the support of my family and the centre, I managed to finish seventh grade last year. Now I’m in Grade 8 and will continue until I finish high school.”
Aysheh Khalifah is one of the centre’s success stories and was able to obtain good grades, against the odds.
“I left Grade 9 at age 14 to get married and didn’t have the chance to continue my studies because of my kids and pregnancy,” the 30-year-old said.
“I was determined to continue my education and study law at university. So six years after leaving school I started to look for a school or a centre that would help me fulfil my dream.
“In 2010, I registered in the ninth grade at Umm Al Mumineen Adult Education Centre. I faced some obstacles at first but with determination and good memory I managed to succeed and get good marks until I reached high school.
“The encouraging environment at the centre helped me a lot. The teachers are very supportive and the management also helped me go through all my personal obstacles that sometimes prevented me from attending.”
With a mission to build a literate community, the centre, which is staffed by 26 teachers, aims to transform lives by strengthening reading and writing skills through continuous learning programmes.
It currently caters to almost 200 students a year and focuses on their needs, goals, learning styles and their availability.
“The majority of the students who attend are women who have childcare needs during the day so we try to make this as accessible as possible, therefore the centre starts operating in the afternoon,” said the school manager, Sabeha Ahmad.
“We have 190 students with 14 classrooms.
“Some of the students are illiterate while others didn’t have the chance to continue their education,” she said.
“We encourage our students to participate in almost every social event and activity. This will help them in building their self-esteem and be active members of society. This is also a part of our social responsibility and commitment.”
© The National