Girls Summer Activities Come to Close [Archives:2000/34/Reportage]

August 21 2000

Marking the closing of summer activities on languages, awareness of the importance of rational use of water, and health and environment care, the Girls School for International Languages (GSIL) on Saturday held a speech rally. It also included a seeing-off ceremony for Mrs. Carin Meerburg, wife of the Ambassador of Holland.
The occasion was attended by Mr. Jamal Muhammed Abdo, Director of Public Corporation for Water Resources and a number of Holland Embassy staff.
In her speech Mrs. Meerburg, who is considered to be a significant figure as founder of the GSIL, said: I arrived in Yemen in 1996 and found it to be quite different from Europe. She added: After one year, i.e. in 1997, there were elections here and I worked as an observer in those elections. I could observe candidate and voter womens infrequency. She went on to say: I felt it necessary to pay attention to womens education and enlightening them; particularly the poor women. This is because education is the road to future. The outgoing Ambassadors wife further said: I arrived from Europe where I took part in summer camps. I could see students in Yemen are not exploiting their summer or leisure time whereas it is always important to do so for their own good. In her farewell speech she explained how she was able to establish the GSIL: I met Mrs. Intilaq Al-Mutawakel, a teacher at Sanaa University, and had together discussed the possibility of teaching English language to girls who belong to limited-income families, with curricula serving environment and the society at the GSIL.
Mrs. Meerburg expressed her belief that the school activities shall continue. Speaking about a library which she contributed to, she hoped that it would develop and expand more, particularly with references relating to water and health, because I observed that water is one of the big problems in Yemen, she said adding: Although I have been living in Yemen for more than three years, I knew only in 1999, through reading, of the acute problems of water particularly in Sanaa and Taiz. Subsequently she laid an emphasis on her students to read more and get acquainted as well as to disseminate awareness on the importance of rationale use of water.
It is note-worthy that some of her students took part in a conference on water held in the Netherlands. Applauding the girls role, Mrs. Meerburg said delightedly: I am very happy with what they have gained and what they are doing now. That is why I see that education of girls and women is important in order to improve the conditions of the society.
On the other hand, Mrs. Mutawakel, in her speech, expressed her pleasure on the achievements which the GSIL had realized in teaching English language as well environment, water, health and educational subjects concerning girls. This means, the School is not concerned with language only but also several other useful lessons, she said.
Mrs. Mutawakel then disclosed that a curriculum is under preparation on democracy, childs rights and girls life. She added that contacts and coordination with the Public Corporation for Water Resources and also the Technical Secretariat for Water & Sewerage resulted in preparation and teaching of a special curriculum on water. It is purely scientific, she said. In the field of health, a first aid curriculum has been prepared. By the way, all these are taught in English language. These are the basic objectives of the school, she said.
Commending Mrs. Meerburgs role, Mrs. Mutawakel said: She rendered technical and moral support. She offered grants to income-limited girls and others who showed desire to learn English language. The girl-students belong to State-run schools who have been nominated by their head mistresses or social workers.
Mrs. Mutawakel maintained that after the summer activities, classes are run on once-a-week basis. She hoped experts from Information and Health Education would be arranged to give lessons on health in English language in form of guidance or curriculum.