Saturday, 22 June 2013

Girls vs the Boys

Please do not start with me and say that I am discriminating, chauvinist or any of those words that people use when someone  starts comparing.  Differences between boys and girls (or is it girls and boys? just to be PC I mean) had been researched and tested since research as a word had started;  much had been said about brain abilities and physical abilities, no one can say with utmost certainty though that boys and girls are different for sure except in the appearance and in the physical make up of the person.  However in terms of brain ability, I am sure if we have the same conditions and test if a boy and a girl can solve a certain mathematical formula, or discover a scientific composition, both will do well (of course if both had been prepared well, and are in the same frame of mind).

If you want my opinion, I think men and women are the same, they are not equal, as women can do things that men cannot do and vice verse (some men and women do try to defy nature and do the things that either cannot do or are not natural to them, like pregnancy for instance) but beside any scientific interventions, we could have both men and women perform matters of the brain equally well. Some times girls will outperform boys, but that is only because the girls persevere and want to prove themselves, and boys know very well that they will be fine, so why work hard, thus complacency is the reason for not getting the high grades in schools! see the below results for top students in Bahrain for instance:

However we are not under the same condition, and we are not the best in removing mental differentiation and centuries of verbal and subconscious training/conditioning that will make us feel that boys and girls are different and may never be able to outperform each other.  Thus, we see the current state of affairs!

Anyway,  I tend to look after women, and leave the boys to be looked after by the society as the society still favours them (I do at times too),  and whenever there is a show, talk, seminar, women conference, women discussion or any other function for women and girls, I will attend it, why? just to reaffirm my thinking and to further consolidate their work and show it to the public at large.

One of these shows was the exhibition of Zayed University design school final year's work.  It was fantastic, and equal if not surpasses what I had seen in other places.  The work was of a professional standard, and can be used as is for corporations and government offices.

Here is some of the photos that I had taken during the show:

Three Projects in particular were ingenious and stood out to me for having a very creative thinking and also artistic talents; the first one belongs to the enthusiastic girl who cares for horses and wants to start a hospital so horses are not killed for the simplest thing like a leg fracture;  the second was the project on anger management and how all the nations are the same when anger hits them. The third one is to save the Arabic proverbs! the student wants to collect all the proverbs that are used in the gulf and keep them on cyber space for generations to come.  All of these projects are thought of and designed by the students and displayed in a very attractive way.  I am sure that these students will hit it big in the future, and I wish them best of luck.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

It is a matter of choices and opportunities, I guess!!

If one is given a choice between going to classrooms, studying all day and night, doing assignments, group presentations, sitting one exam after the other or staying at home, doing mundane jobs, going to cafes, meeting with friends and not worrying about the future? which role will you chose? for many people the choice is influenced by many other factors, like having the funds to study, or the ability to work hard, or just sheer laziness.  However, Some may want to further their education but have no luck in doing so, for whatever reason.

I am not trying to criticise anybody here'  I am just raising questions that came to my mind when I met this student this morning

Well, he is a very persistent 21 years old man, he had a childhood dream, to be a pilot, he couldn't achieve high grades in school due to some compelling circumstances at home, when his mother had her crippling accident, he has four sisters and his dad works as a labourer in a factory.  He was adamant though, and tried in many ways, sometimes he would feel the darkness, I try to remove it by giving a pep talk or raise his morale in one way or the other.  I am not a counselor, but I am a mother and didn't want my children to have those feelings, hence talking to him as a mother did help at times.

When he contacted me a couple of years ago, I thought that maybe one of the foundations that I work with will help him achieve his dream.  However,  and for obvious reasons, no foundation would help a student unless he or she had scored very high grades.  He is unfortunate that he was born in a country that doesn't celebrate dreams, nor does it spend much on educating its people;  thus parents either save to help their children study, take loans from banks, or foundations will help as a charity or as an interest free loan the student will pay back when he or she return back, or graduate.  Bottom line is, he found few jobs, saved some money, did some entrepreneurial projects and so on; this was not enough, and of course he still couldn't raise enough funds to support his childhood dream.  He needs to do more, his dream costs a fortune, and no one person can help, its a collective job that all of us out there are responsible for.  

My point here is, anyone can painstakingly try to raise ones level and evict oneself from the poverty circle, try to become a better human being and helpful for humanity.  However all of us need a catalyst!  this is the person that will help to make the dream happen.

So I explained to him this morning, that if I can do it in life, and reach this level, anyone can do it!  I omitted the part about having a catalyst in my life that gave a little nudge so I got where I am now;  the reason for omitting this fact is obvious, who he is and where he lives are not conducive in finding the catalyst, and plus I didn't want to add to his already complicated life.

We need those catalysts in our lives guys, help me find them, just so I can help those students. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

And I got invited to Bedford-South Africa

Sorry folks, I haven't been writing off late.  First it was the new phone and how it multiplied my contacts and made them more than 11000, then the sabotage to my laptop and how I lost a lot of my work; of course most of my work was backed up, but as I was on the run for couple of months had meant that I lost couple of months' worth of work, very valuable too.  Its a pity that we depend on technology but it fails us; however even though that it does that, I cannot have it any other way.

I love my job and I love what I do and what it does to me, I love the fact that we do not have a situation that is similar to the next one, as every college, every university, every school, every company and every student that we work with are different.  Although we have a list of Q&A, but its an ever changing list, and we keep on updating it to include the new innovations and the new locations etc.  The variety of cases that we deal with did not come about haphazardly, it came about through a well thought of strategy which the team and I had formulated and executed. First of all we are all out and about all the time, we attend fairs, seminars, exhibitions, conferences, talks, interviews, debate items on forums, and debate discussions on the radio and TV.  We also watch out for any new developments and start adapting it or debate its relevance.  We work with different types of students, and for that reason we need to learn different techniques so we know how to handle each type of students.

Of course, when I speak of students, I mean the main stream type! is there really a main stream type? all of us are different like our finger prints and blue prints. We all have some sort of learning difficulty, and we all like some things and dislike others.  However in some situations, there are some kids that are the 8's and 9's on the scale of learning difficulties, so we started to look into this factor and add it to our list of "help" items.  I cannot say that we work with special needs, we are not qualified to do so, but the mere fact of knowing the type of LD is enough for us to recommend what the parents should do.  And at this end I would like to introduce my newly formed friend

I lived in the area I am in now for 5 years, and only recently that I knew about a ladies group on Facebook, so I joined it, and to introduce myself I wrote a post about our work.  It was like opening a can of worms guys!! I was kicking myself because I didn't bother to find this group before.  One comment followed the other and I started meeting people at our neighborhood's Costa.  One of them is Jin, South African teacher who choose to leave her job and start to teach those kids that are not accepted into main stream schools, of course being at home, the teaching will not be certified, as our countries only understand the norm, and reject the unusual.  Anyway, I didn't realize that we were talking for more than 2 hours, non stop.  Because of Jin, now I know about few good universities and schools in South Africa, and also got an invitation to Bedford, where her parents live.  I cannot wait to go there and see the mountains and the fields. Of course I gave my bit too and introduced her to my friend who has a Special needs centre, and linking both of them worked like a charm.  I must do something with this quality of mine, I am great at it :)

This post is dedicated to those that dedicate their lives to helping others, and one of them is Jin.