Different Past: Shared Futures Award Winner
Nominated by: Coleg Cambria
When Fatma Al Nahdy made the journey to the UK from Yemen in 2015, she didn’t speak any English and due to the ongoing wars and turbulent situation in Yemen she had never attended school. Fatma could speak two languages fluently but didn’t know how to read or write.
Her son was born not long after she arrived, and she was determined to build a better life for him. So, when she was offered the chance to enroll on an English as a Second Language (ESOL) course at Coleg Cambria, she was nervous but excited to take on a new challenge. Just five years later, Fatma has completed ESOL as well as a Level 2 Diploma in Skills for Further Study and a Level 3 Access to Higher Education course. She passed her GCSE maths and English and has continued to broaden her knowledge by enrolling on ECDL, beginner’s Welsh and interpretation courses. Fatma’s goal has always been to become a nurse. She was recently accepted onto a nursing degree at Bangor University
For Fatma, learning English was an essential part of getting settled and starting her new life in Wales, she said: “I was nervous for the first class. I knew I would be meeting lots of new people, and I was very shy at first. But it was a lovely class, my tutors helped me to see the fun in learning and after a couple of months I started to feel more comfortable and more confident. Learning English meant I was able to get out and build links with the community.”
As well as the challenge of learning new things, Fatma is motivated by her desire for her son to have a better life. “Now I can speak, read, and write and understand English very well. I can read letters independently, go to the GP without a translator and support my son with his schoolwork.”
She continued: “My son is my motivation and inspiration. Learning during the pandemic was challenging because I was also home schooling and caring for him. Remote learning is not my preferred way of learning, but I am doing okay. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, all the courses I’ve taken up to this point are to help me reach that goal. It hasn’t been easy, but now I’m closer than ever before to achieving my dream. I can’t wait to start my nursing degree next year, I am very grateful to be where I am, and I’d like to thank my tutors for helping me get there. They told me I was intelligent; nobody had ever told me that in my entire life. They motivated me to continue on my journey to nursing.
When I arrived in Wales, I didn’t know about any of the help that was available for me. I stayed in touch with the women who helped me and they’re like family now, my son has two ‘forever grandmas. My advice to anyone else thinking of taking up a course as an adult is to manage your time and focus on your goals – education is the key to life.”