Sharjah: Sky is the limit for success and it is not the age, but the willpower and dedication that matters in its pursuit. Najama Khalil Abu Esbaa, who worked as a teacher for more than seventeen years in the UAE, was awarded the mark of high distinction from The Hague University at seventy-four and she proved that age is just a number!
She bagged her doctoral degree in History for her thesis entitled
‘The role of Palestinian women in the struggle within the quarter-century of the first intifada until 2012’. While receiving her degree after defending her thesis in front of a panel of judges in Sharjah, she said that age has never been a problem for her to achieve her goal even after becoming a mother to five children and grandmother to fourteen.
She believes that education has no age constraints and it is a weapon for many women. She talked about the many obstacles that she faced during the collection of data about the realities of Palestinian women. Esbaa also discussed obtaining tourist permission and her field meetings with a number of women leaders including prisoners, relatives of martyrs and residents of Jordan. “I was devastated when I visited my destroyed town of Salma in 2014. I found only ruins and stones which tells the story of people who have struggled for decades”, she added.
She was involved in teaching her fourteen grandchildren during the same time of her research and she worked upon her thesis after 11 pm. “The joy of wearing the graduation gown from The Hague University does not match any joy. I couldn’t have achieved my dream without the support of my husband and children in the last five years while preparing the Ph.D. thesis. It helped me overcome all the difficulties”, Esbaa added. At the celebration party of her incredible achievement, Abu Esbaa’s husband Abdul Mustafa expressed his indescribable pride about his wife. He said “she is great mother and wife who gave her children the best means of education, planted in them the highest meaning of life, which is the love of science. She did not allow any barriers to stop her. She is the best example of women struggling in the march of education”.
Dr. Samar Abdullah, Abu Esbaa’s eldest daughter was also unable to hold back her tears of joy. She said that the life of her mother is a story of struggle. “She traveled to Yemen in 2000 to defend her master’s thesis, despite demands from her doctor to take a rest after undergoing a serious operation”. Her son Bilal, wearing a traditional Palestinian costume is an architect said that his mother has been a constant inspiration to him and his sisters.
Abu Esbaa, in spite of all her odds and struggles, became a model of self-esteem, confidence, and courage. Members of the judging committee praised the research and survey carried out by Esbaa and the fact that her letter documented women’s struggle for a quarter of a century. They described her research which shed light upon the reality of Palestinian women as “historical’.
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