The Muslim Hands School of Excellence in Sri-Lanka provides a quality education, daily nutritious meals and medical check-ups to 293 orphans and disadvantaged children. We catch up with one of the teachers, 26 year old Firnas Ithaf, to find out more about why she teaches here.
Firnas always knew she wanted to help her community. After qualifying as an English teacher, Firnas was offered a government teaching job, but she declined. She wanted to be near home and to make a difference to her friends and neighbours. In her home town of Puttalam, the people are poor and isolated, far away from educational opportunities. Many adults are illiterate and English is not widely used.
After some time, she learned of an opportunity to teach English at the Muslim Hands School of Excellence. Firnas says she was drawn to the school because of its ethos of making education accessible for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in her community. Many of those attending are orphans and Firnas has embraced the challenge of working with students who have experienced great loss and hardship at such a young age.
Her husband and parents are supportive, happy that Firnas is using her skills to improve the futures of poor and orphaned children, and as more and more people learn of the excellent facilities and the support, such as uniforms and transport, which the Muslim Hands School of Excellence is providing for its students, admission numbers are rising.
After three years of working at the School of Excellence, Firnas Ithaf is positive about the impact it has had on her community. She tells us, ‘the kids who learn in this school are able to access every resource the school provides, which they can never afford by themselves and because of this they are experiencing a standard of education that would otherwise be off limits to them’.
Muslim Hands has established specialised Schools of Excellence for orphans and disadvantaged children across Africa and Asia. And with the dedication of passionate young teachers like Firnas working all over the world, Muslim Hands can continue to invest in the futures of children everywhere.