Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) recently recognized the outstanding achievements of low-skilled workers and volunteer student tutors as well as Qatar University during a Reflection Event hosted by ROTA’s Adult Arabic Literacy (RAAL) Program, which is sponsored by Qatar Petroleum.
The RAAL Reflection Event, which was held on February 26, was celebrated as students and migrant workers received awards and certificates for participating in the first-ever RAAL Program last November. The program gave 16 migrant workers from Nepal, India and the Philippines the opportunity to develop their ability to effectively communicate at a basic level in Arabic in their daily activities.
The pilot Arab literacy skills course was conducted over a period of 6 weeks, and for this ROTA partnered with Qatar University and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Centre (Al Fanar) to develop a model for teaching basic adult Arabic literacy. The RAAL initiative was a result of a survey carried out by ROTA, which suggested that 55% of low-skilled workers did not have any Arabic literacy skills, while 45% of workers appeared to have a fair degree of spoken Arabic with no reading or writing skills.
“Qatar Petroleum congratulates all the workers who have completed ROTA’s Adult Arabic Literacy Program and we encourage them to continue learning the language as it will undoubtedly make a big difference in their day-to-day lives. We would also like to express our gratitude to the volunteer tutors and everyone else who have contributed to the success of the program,” said Mr. Abdulrahman Abdulla Al-Obaidly, Manager for Public Relations and Communications of QP.
“The ROTA Adult Arabic Literacy Program was a fruitful way of supporting workers to enhance their ability to achieve their personal goals and improve their opportunities in life. We hope that by taking part in the RAAL program, the participants were able to develop higher aspirations and an increased sense of well-being and empowerment,” said Mr. Essa Al Mannai, Executive Director of ROTA. “Today’s reflection event aims to encourage them to move forward and learn more about our rich language,” he added.
The RAAL Program was created primarily to develop the Arabic literacy and language abilities of low-skilled migrant workers in Qatar coming from diverse languages and cultural backgrounds to attain the fundamental skills of modern standard Arabic, and develop the students’ desire and commitment for continuing learning Arabic.
The Initiative’s objective is also to build strong bridges of cultural communication, and to promote tolerance among peoples and civilizations through a motivating environment that makes volunteers and students the center of the educational process. A key feature of the program was that it offered opportunities for 7 young people in Doha, from US, Austria, Lebanon and Qatar, to take part in an experiential service learning opportunity, developing their skills and knowledge as RAAL Literacy Trainers and Champions.
Prior to becoming trainers, the volunteers attended a one-day training program organized by ROTA, and provided by Mr. Mohammed Al Haj Mahmoud Taleb from Sheikh Abdulla bin Zeid Al Mahmoud Islamic Centre (Al Fanar). The training covered practical information relating to teaching Arabic, communication across language barriers, and global migration.
Mohd. Wasim Akram, a migrant worker from Nepal who participated in the classes, said that he didn’t understand Arabic at all before joining the program. “I could not speak Arabic before but, after attending Arabic classes regularly, my understanding of the language has improved a lot and I feel better about my evolution personally and professionally,” he said.
For Mohiuddin Ansari, a Bangladeshi worker, being selected for the educational program was a privilege. “I have always yearned for an opportunity to enhance my Arabic language as I believe that it will give me more responsibility in my job and improve my skills, which could eventually lead to improvements in my work life and finances.”
“The RAAL initiative is a humble step to give something worthwhile to the workers. Something that will stretch their imaginations–something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach for their goals,” added Ms. Rasmeya Hassan Al Jamali, Project Manager.
For further information please contact:
Denise Yamine Chouity
GREYdoha, Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974 4428 50