Written by Gaby Coopershmidt
The women education program of the Bnai Darfur organization is gaining momentum. Of all the classes that available in the program, the computer user class is getting more and more students every week. The class is being taught by Tamar Sharf, a teacher in her profession for over 15 years. Tamar is volunteering in the organization and studying for her master’s degree on a subject close to her students – migration studies. With Tamar is Sumaya, an activist in the community that translates her words from English to Arabic and helps the student understand the terms. Each of the students gets a booklet in Arabic for her homework because most of the students don’t have a computer at home.
The studies are quite basic at the eyes of the experienced user. The students learned from the first class the basic uses of computer – how to use the keyboard and mouse, how to open a window and create a new folder. Their progress is impressively fast and today the students will learn how to create documents and save them.
Tamar and Sumaya are very patient and demonstrate their actions to the smallest detail. They pass from student to student, answering all of the questions and helping on every action. For every question, Tamar has a detailed answer. Tamar doesn’t forget that the students don’t understand the logic of computer use naturally. She uses actions from her students everyday life to explain them this logic – files inside folder like clothes arranged in drawers inside the closet, pressing the left mouse button to select an icon – just like a baby pointing his finger on a toy he wants.
Tamar and Somaya’s efforts are getting paid off very fast. The students are fascinated from the computer and anxious to know how to operate him for its many options. After three classes only the students that arrived to the first class with no knowledge at all are using the popular Windows operating system and the Office programs.
But not all rosy at Fur Center, the compound of Bnai Darfur organization and the main space for the women education program. The computers that we’re donated by the Stiftung organization had seen better days. Even though the operations that students are doing with them don’t require a high processing power or big screens, the computers freeze, keyboard and mice stop responding, the screens got blacked out or simply doesn’t work at all. The different versions of the programs are a problem too for maintaining a unified curriculum. But Tamar and Sumaya don’t give up and takes the most of the given hardware, all for the important mission.
Tamar shows the students a USB drive and tells about its uses before ending the lesson. The students turning off together the computers and saying goodbye to Tamar and Sumaya as they wait to the next class to learn how to surf the web and send an E-mail to their loved ones around the globe.
Before she leaves the compound, Tamar tells about the different learning process – she has already instructed several basic computer use classes but has never had such enthusiastic students for gaining knowledge like her students at the Fur center. Tamar is very satisfied that the will for education for women came from the community herself and wasn’t forced on. The Darfur community pushes it’s members toward education to overcome the gap between them and the Israeli society.
Tamar that already worked with refugees knows the subject from very close. She also knows that even if the means are limited – with the right workforce it’s possible to get to achievements. If it’s another teacher like Tamer, another translator like Somaya or even a computer specialist that could fix their problems – every man that join the cause can help to promote the Darfur community to a better and brighter future.