Amna Latif Al-Shemmery completed high school a few years ago, and at that time, believed that all doors have been closed, in terms of pursuing higher studies. A studious young girl from Jahra, Amna saw her Kuwaiti classmates go to college while waiting to enroll into a suitable college. Amna who lost her mother when she was in grade two, had never fallen into a depression except during the four-year waiting period. "That was the time," Amna recollected, "I hated myself for being a bedoon.
Four years later, Amna enrolled into a Bachelor's Degree program in Education at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET). Now working as a teacher, Amna serves as a role model to her two younger sisters, supports her unemployed father and student brother. She was promoted to a higher position last year, bought a car last year, an iPhone last month, and has just applied to pursue a Masters degree.
My dream," Amna told me, "is to secure a scholarship which I'll not get. If I were a Kuwaiti, the situation would have been different - I'd receive all kinds of support." Now that Amna has to set aside a lion's share from her earnings for her family, she believes it may take a longer time to complete her Masters degree. Her two working sisters, great friends and co-supporters have fully supportive of their older sister, except for Amna's decision to delay her marriage.
Marriage is an issue," a thoughtful Amna said, "I don't want to talk about it." Amna who is thankful to her father who has, in her words, 'played both father and mother's role' in her life has a pleasant disposition towards life. Her bedoon father remained a widower after his Kuwaiti wife's untimely death, "No, it's not that I'm against men. I don't want to get married to someone who is less qualified than I am. It can create issues." Several of her friends, Amna told me, remain unmarried. Right now, marriage is not a priority. Studies are, she said.
Amna represents a large population of women who are educated, employed, independent and ambitious and prefer to choose partners from an equal, if not higher, social strata. Some women suffer because of their decision to remain spinsters and feel better about it. For most others, 'it's not the end of the world,' as Amna puts it.
But don't you want to continue the good family tradition?," I asked her.
I don't know, but I'm willing to be surprised.
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