9 March 2010
After years of being unable to contact her son in Algeria, 65-year-old Gazan Amena Al Ajrami has learned to use computers to communicate with her son and grandchildren.
Amena only finished eighth grade before she got married and stopped going to school. She said: “I was only 14 years old when I got married. Now, after my kids have grown up and married I have lots of spare time, so I decided to use this time learning different courses.
"I am eager to learn more than before. I was forced to leave school; I could not say no, but now I want to learn as much as I can.”
Most of Amena’s eight children are married and have children. One son lives in Algeria and is unable to visit his family, who have not seen him for years.
Keeping in touch
Amena decided to start a computer course at Jabalia Women’s Programme Centre, so she could use the internet to keep in touch with her son and grandchildren. She said: “Yesterday was the first time I saw my grandchildren since 1995. You cannot imagine how happy I was, and proud at the same time."
"I was hesitant to use the computer or just to think of using it. Now whenever I have time I can use it and go through different programs. I also use the internet to gain any information that I need; it is another world," she continued.
“I am 65 years old, but I am not ignorant, I like to read. Ignorance is not only being unable to write or to read. I have changed a lot, and can understand now what my children are talking about."
Spreading the word
"I can use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I am so happy to learn and very proud,"
Amena said. “I told all the women that I met them to join this centre and learn all kinds of training. It is good for them, for their lives, and for their characters."
Jabalia Women’s Programme Centre is one of 22 centres for women’s development in the Gaza Strip. The UNRWA initiative helps women promote themselves in society.
Text by Najwa Sheikh, Gaza Strip