After many years as a full-time Mum, Amina Zaveri finally has time to do something for herself, fulfilling her lifelong dream to be able to read and write. Dundee International Women’s Centre made her dreams come true.
Amina and her husband migrated to London in 1986 from Malawi. Like many newly arrived migrants, Amina’s family worked very hard to survive. Amina worked as a factory worker for 5 years to support her family.
The early years in London were not easy as Amina struggled with the language and culture. She was desperate to learn English. As a child Amina never got access to education: “I never had the chance to go to school,” says Amina.
While in London, she took a short course in English but never got the opportunity to complete it. She learned a few words that helped her get by. At the same time, she learned how to sign her name for the first time. After spending 7 years in London, Amina and her family moved to Dundee. She was then a full-time mum taking care of her four children. Having less interaction with the outside world, Amina lost her self-confidence and self-esteem: “I used to be so afraid to go out and meet people, I became very sick,” she explains.
Realizing her problems, Amina’s children encouraged her to go out and do something for herself. Her daughter brought her to the centre so she could interact and spend time with other women.
The centre gave Amina a new meaning to life and hope. She attended English conversation classes and can now read and write. “I sometimes struggle with spelling, but my children and friends understand me well when I speak and send messages in English,” says Amina.
Amina gained her self-confidence and is now the soul of the centre. Her presence brightens the mood and she is well liked by everyone. "I love coming to the centre because I can learn so much and meet so many other people,” she says.
She also knows how to operate the computer and is brushing up on her Microsoft Office skills. “I always wondered what do people do on the computer and how that machine works but now I understand it.”
She is now confident to drive a car by herself and is not afraid anymore of leaving her house and going places. Amina admits that the centre helped her to overcome a lot of difficulties in her life mainly recovering from depression. She has reduced her medications and claims that the centre is the best cure for her.
As with many of the women who come to Dundee International Women’s Centre, Amina had a great will to learn, but did not know where to start - we were happy to help.
Amina is a great example of how a persistent woman with determination is able to achieve whatever she wants and be successful with the right support and guidance regardless of her age.
At the age of 63, Amina is getting closer to fulfilling her dreams to be a teacher:“My advice to all women of my age is to work and don’t stay at home. We all need to be independent even at this age. I dream to be a teacher and share my knowledge with other women. Now I am so happy I can do something for myself” says Amina.
Her message to other women is that if they want to achieve something in their lives they need to believe in themselves and start doing it. “If I can do this- anyone can do this,” she says.
Below you can find what Amina has written about her experience with her IT class and other classes in the centre she attended:
Q. How do you think you will use what you have learnt in the IT class, out with the Centre?
A. I have learnt how to send Emails. It is easier to communicate with Friends and family. I improved my spelling and typing skills so I can Write letters. I make my letters look nice to do colours and Italics and enjoying lots. I feel better, I am enjoying so much. It was my Dream to learn Computing skills, my teacher Vicky give a full support and she help me - so now I am doing many things in my on. I am so happy by myself now I have full confidence to do further classes. A good luck for me now, I am so proud. By myself only I had spellings problem so I am learning. I am still Coming in Monday class and Tuesday morning English class. And I rarely ingoing myself and all volunteers are so nice and all staff are so friendly and my teachers Anna and Sue both are helpful, I hope I will improve my spelling.