"I think I've said this before..."
The last two days of our training program really brought things together for me with the goal setting sessions and our discussion of how they will use these leadership skills once they graduate from DWC.
Working with my small group on refining our goal of "creating more clubs at DWC" into a clearly thought out plan of action proved what I had thought all along-that the DWC women really knew everything we were supposed to be teaching them, they just needed to hear someone say that they believed in them. I'm pretty sure that the women got tired of hearing me say that they had all these skills before we came, but every day I find even more proof that my supposition was correct!
When we were talking about using these re-discovered skills outside of DWC I was again truly impressed at what everyone was saying. Nawal said that she'd be teaching her son that women can be leaders and making him do chores when he is old enough (I guess 7 months is a little early to start helping set the table...). Fatma and Amal talked about being role models in the classroom when they being jobs as english teachers (or when they enter the Ministry of Education and redesign curriculum which I think is a possibility). Khadija started planing a huge awareness campaign about the dangers of smoking and was critically assessing current campaigns to stop smoking.
But the one that stood out was when Hamda talked about how much privilege they have as Emaratis and as educated young women; especially the importance of giving back to the community and engaging in jobs, such as pumping petrol, that are normally taken by workers from India, Pakistan and other nations. This is where I really saw a lot of hope because it meant that they were thinking critically about their own society and finding ways to better understand all the different roles that people have to take to make it function.
All in all, (and I know I've said this before!) I was so impressed by the wonderful women we got to know and become friends with over the course of our training program. And I know that in the next 5, 10, 20 years, we'll be reading about how they are redefining women's roles in the UAE and in the world by being the great leaders that I know they are!