Sharjah, UAE: Yaqoub Alhamadi is a man of many talents who does not shirk a challenge. When he is not working as a school counsellor, the self-taught mechanic and builder is teaching the ins and outs of car maintenance to pupils or putting the finishing touches to one of the houses he has built.
The Emirati believes that, with a little patience, learning and determination, you can achieve anything. This is the message he delivers to his students, many of whom have been sent to his class after getting into trouble or being too rowdy in school.
Mr Alhamadi, who lives in Al Qaraen, works full-time at Al Shahba School for boys, teaching unruly 12 to 17 year olds. But instead of telling them off for breaking the rules, he engages with the youngsters’ passion for cars by showing them how to look after vehicles.
The 44-year-old spends his free time with mechanics and construction workers in the industrial areas. What he learns about cars, he passes on to his pupils, who are quieter and more attentive in class. Even the youngsters who previously would skip school now attend regularly and stay out of trouble.
But what he learns about the building trade he puts to good use on his special projects.
“Our parents and grandparents built their homes without even knowing how to read or write,” the UAE University graduate said. “When I decided to build my home, the world was going through an economic crisis, and I heard lots of stories of friends who had contractors con them and delay delivering their homes. Some even went out of business and others left the country,” he said.
“I had my fears so I consulted some of my engineer friends about how long would it take to build my home. I went to the market to get a feel for the prices and the materials. I found that the contractors are charging me almost double, so I decided to do it myself.”
With a little help from friends and some trusted contractors, he was able to build his home in less than a year.
“I stayed up until midnight and sometimes more with the workers, supervising every little detail in the house,” said Mr Alhamadi, adding work on the property was approved by an engineer from Sharjah Municipality.
His handiwork impressed his neighbours so much that Mr Alhamadi has been inundated with requests to build houses for other families. Since finishing his own home, he has completed work on his mother’s home and started work on one for his brother.
Mr Alhamadi admits he made many mistakes while constructing his home but he puts this down to part of the learning process.
“Not knowing is not wrong, but not learning is. I am happy to see a part of me is in every home I helped build and I am glad to have helped many of my friends and family to make their dreams come true,” Mr Alhamadi said.
© The National
The post Portrait of a Nation: Emirati teacher builds for the future appeared first on edarabia.com.