Meet Nawda Al-Qahtani: A Saudi Woman Returning to School at the Age of 110
Nawda Al-Qahtani, a Saudi woman, has defied age norms and proven the adage “better late than never” by embarking on a new educational journey at the age of 110. Her determination to go back to school is a testament to the power of education and the endless possibilities it holds.
A Second Chance at Education
Thanks to the assistance provided by the Al-Rahwa Center in the Umwah governorate, Nawda Al-Qahtani has found her way back to the classroom. This center, dedicated to eradicating illiteracy, has been instrumental in providing her with the resources and support needed to resume her studies.
Having raised four children, with her oldest child now 80 and her youngest in his 50s, Al-Qahtani shared that learning to read and write has completely transformed her life. The impact of education on her has been profound.
A New Lease on Life
Al-Qahtani, along with more than 50 other individuals, attends school every day since joining the illiteracy eradication program at the Al-Rahwa Center. The program ensures that students of all ages are taught the basics of the alphabet and given the opportunity to learn some verses of the Qur’an.
Al-Qahtani officially stated, “I enjoy the lessons and make sure I complete my homework by the end of each day.” Her dedication and enthusiasm for learning at such an advanced age is truly remarkable.
Gratitude to the Kingdom’s Leaders
The Ministry of Education’s branch in Bisha shared a post on social media highlighting Al-Qahtani’s incredible journey. In her post, the 110-year-old woman expressed her profound gratitude towards the Kingdom’s leaders for their unwavering efforts in eradicating illiteracy and improving access to education.
The Regret of Missed Opportunities
Al-Qahtani acknowledged that the decision to return to her studies at an advanced age posed its challenges, especially considering her age. However, she firmly believes that this decision was long overdue. She expressed deep regret for not completing her education earlier in life, acknowledging that it could have transformed her life and the lives of others.
She attributed the delay in her education to the common issue faced by hundreds of girls from rural areas and villages, who were unable to complete their studies due to geographical isolation.
Support of Loving Family
Al-Qahtani’s four children fully support her educational endeavor and share her perspective that it was a missed opportunity that was delayed by divine timing. Her 60-year-old son, Mohammed, takes his mother to the Al-Rahwa Center every morning and patiently waits for her at the end of her classes.
Mohammed expressed his happiness and pride in his mother’s pursuit of education, stating, “We really wish we could go back in time to provide her with the best educational services.”
Hope for Expanded Access to Education
Speaking about the limited availability of educational opportunities in the Umwah governorate, Mohammed highlighted the need for more schools to serve the local community adequately. He expressed hope that the authorities would establish more schools for public education and increase literacy rates.
The commitment of the country’s leaders to combat and eliminate illiteracy in all regions of the Kingdom brings Mohammed reassurance. He emphasizes the importance of collective effort in eradicating illiteracy, ensuring a quality, formal education for all, and enhancing future job prospects for Saudi Arabia’s sons and daughters.