Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world."
Twice a week, for two hours in every meeting, I stand before a group of young Emirati women and teach them skills to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a test of English that stands as a requirement for them to continue with their education or to apply for employment.
Most of the students in class happen to be mothers and wives who have found the time and space in their lives to continue with their education. They come charged with a unique type of energy, an energy that has a forceful drive advancing them to learn and to fulfil their ambitions.
Moreover, many of the students in Continuing Education programmes in the UAE are Emirati women who were not able to earn an education earlier in their lives due to reasons such as early marriages, pregnancies, lack of choice of institutions, or dilemmas in transportation.
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However, today, as those obstacles and circumstances have changed, these women have made the decision to jump on the train heading towards a world of education and new learning adventures.
Teaching such motivated group of women has unveiled an inspirational reality. One discovers that underneath their modest black headwear are determined minds hungry for an education.
One woman in class asked in Arabic for the English word "insist", and once provided with the word, she enthusiastically declared: "We insist on learning English, and we will learn it."
When asked for the reasons behind their desire to continue with their education, one student explained: "We want to study so that we can help our children in school. If we don't know English, we find ourselves helpless when it comes to teaching our children and helping them with their homework. Our...