Women learn Kurdish to support children, community in Syria’s Kobani

By Fattah Issa

KOBANI, Syria (North Press) – As soon as Narin Misko Zada finishes work in her job, she heads to a course recently started at the Kobani University. She carries her notebook and pens with a goal in mind to learn her mother tongue, Kurdish.

Misko Zada told North Press that learning Kurdish language was not possible in the past when she was a student at school. Currently, however, her children are taught Kurdish at schools. Unfortunately, she struggles to help them with their homework, which prompted her to take a course specialized for adults to learn Kurdish.

Currently, Misko Zada learns the Kurdish alphabet, writing, and reading at a slow pace according to her level. Now, she feels capable of assisting her children who are in the first and second grades at the primary school.

Ilaf Othman Ahmad also does everything she can to learn Kurdish to be able to read and write in her mother tongue. She joined the course driven by a desire to assist her children while they learn at school.

Ahmad believes that her ability to support her children’s studies at home contributes to their academic excellence and the fulfillment of their aspirations in the future.

Additionally, she wants to be able to read official documents issued by the commune in her neighborhood or by any official authority affiliated with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) to understand their content.

Kurdish in professions

Bakira Sinjar, 45, takes the course with the goal of reading and writing official papers and documents required for her job as the head of the commune in her neighborhood.

Sinjar and 17 other women started learning Kurdish language, which not long ago was prohibited. Before 2011, learning Kurdish was forbidden and punished by the Syrian government.

Sinjar told North Press she does not face any challenges in learning her native language despite her old age. She believes that learning any language only requires will power.

Course for adults

Haifa Muhammad Ali, an official in the Administrative Affairs in Kobani University, states this course was initiated by the University in cooperation with the communes. The course was established specifically for mothers and women over the age of 35.

The course includes 17 women and starts by teaching the alphabet and gradually advances to a level where they can fluently read and write in the official Kurdish language, according to Ali.

Ali pointed out that these women have two main goals to learn the Kurdish. They learn to be able to help their children studying in schools in northeastern Syria and to work in jobs in communes. Therefore, learning Kurdish is essential to read and write official documents in these institutions, she added.

The course lasts one hour a day for five days a week. “The course may continue for six months until the women’s proficiency in reading and writing improves. This will enable them to participate in meetings and fulfill their daily tasks of writing work reports in Kurdish,” Ali told North Press.