Learning from teaching in Kurdistan

By Ashna Shareff:

Perhaps education teaches many things, but not all educations teach everything.

A few days ago, with three of my teammates, I was teaching 20 or so girls from Salahdeen university software programs and multimedia. The workshop was basically to empower young girls from Kurdistan, to teach them how to use different programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations – basic programs that we use almost every day. In addition, our purpose was to encourage them to stand on their feet and build their own future careers.

Perhaps I am still too young to teach other girls of my age how to build their future. But that doesn’t matter because, in this workshop, I had the chance not only to teach, but also to become a student of life and to learn.

I have always known that there are many vulnerable people in my community with no access to most basic needs of life, including education.

The girls I was teaching were all college students and yet I learnt that sometimes even education can’t afford your basic needs.

Among the participants some had never heard the term ‘computer’ in their lives before. Perhaps it’s too depressing to bring an issue like this to public attention. But that’s not the point. The point is how heavy-eyed and unconscious we are towards the people of our own community, and perhaps how unthankful most of us are as well.

We spend 16 years of our lives at schools and universities. We study all types of curriculums, but still most of us fall behind in terms of knowledge about many things. At times, even those who compete with the modern world still fail to move ahead.

In one of our sessions, we were teaching the students about E-mail and how to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Surprisingly, some of the participants who had E-mail accounts could not remember their passwords simply because they used them only to open their Facebook accounts and some have easily been hacked by their relative and friends because their passwords were formed from a basic numbers 1-6 model.

One participant told me that one time her cousin broke into her account and hacked her, because it was too easy for him to find out about her password. Apparently, she had male friends from college in her account and, when her cousin learned about this, he immediately told her father. That’s how she was disciplined by her parents, ended up cutting her connections with her cousin and started secretly using another account.

Another participant refused to create an account, because she was terrified that her family would find out. Perhaps a severe punishment would wait for her at her door.

Perhaps it’s neither the fault of those girls, nor their parents’ fault. We live in a world where the old generation can’t cope easily with the modern world. And perhaps it’s not even entirely the fault of the government for not affording the right education. Maybe it’s our fault too, as members of this community, for not taking our responsibility to the next level: To share our knowledge and aim at illuminating what’s keeping our nation backward.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

One Response to Learning from teaching in Kurdistan
  1. Dr.N.Hawramany
    July 16, 2012 | 20:24

    The problem is not a generation gap, it is basically the dominance of socially ignorant male gender in such a tribal and feudal society. The grown up females are terrified that if they open up Email accounts, it is quiet possible that one of her male relatives or to that matter non-relatives will feel himself free to intrude into her private communications and use it to spoil her name and limit her freedom. the kurdish females in general are much more educated and open minded than the males in Kurdish society. The problem is not only the male relatives, but even male aquaintances or colleagues might use this innocent correspondence to boast that they have an affair with this girl and will try to ruin her reputation.With my respect for the writer, I think she missed the point when she assumes that some of those university students haven`t heard of the word computer, as far as I know even children from literate families nowadays can use Computer and surf in the web in Kurdistan.the problem is not the lack of knowledge , it is restrictions imposed by male members of Kurdish society on the female half.

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