Fatima’s Future: “A New World of Learning”

June 3, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Posted in Student Stories | Comments Off on Fatima’s Future: “A New World of Learning”

When Fatima first came to the United States, she didn’t have any education, work experience, or speak any English. As a child in Morocco she was unable to attend school. Fatima says that whenever she thinks of those days, “my heart still hurts.”



After arriving in this country with no language or literacy skills, she says that “the first year was very hard for me.” Despite these challenges, Fatima has become an exemplary learner and achieved a great deal. She has demonstrated commitment to achieving her goals and true determination to learn.

Fatima found the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) in 2011 after hearing about the organization from a friend. With help from LCNV instructors Connie Bernhardt, Ruth Hansen, and Mickey Schulman, she could soon hold simple conversations. She found a job at a restaurant, taking on increasing responsibilities over time. “Now she speaks English very clearly and converses readily on many topics,” according to her tutor Ruth.

Fatima set herself the goal of becoming a U.S. Citizen. While diligently studying for the naturalization test, she went beyond simply memorizing answers to questions. Ruth explains how Fatima also wanted to understand their meaning to Americans, and “by taking a real interest in the history of America and the culture of her new country, she found a new world of learning.”

After becoming a U.S. citizen in December 2014, Fatima says, “I’m so happy my dream came true…If you work hard you could or will achieve your dreams and will have a successful life… Now I’m thankful to my teacher Mrs. Ruth for all the hard work she did with me. I’m very thankful to teachers Connie and Mickey. Finally thank you to the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for the best program ever.”

Along with being such a strong student, her instructor Connie explains that Fatima is also a special person. “People can’t help but notice the aura of peace and kindness that surrounds Fatima. She listens attentively and responds with great empathy to the cares and concerns of others. She also looks for ways to help whenever she can,” says Connie. Because of her commitment and dedication, “there’s no limit to what Fatima can achieve.”

Fatima is working towards achieving her next goal of obtaining a driver’s license. She is also studying Arabic literacy on her own through an educational TV program, so she is learning to read and write in her native language for the first time.

“With the help of LCNV and the support of her family, Fatima is truly transforming her life,” says Ruth.

Please consider donating online to LCNV on June 4 through Do More 24 to help learners like Fatima achieve their dreams! By participating in this local, 24-hour online fundraising event you’ll help LCNV become eligible to win extra cash prizes. Thank you!

Thanks also to tutor Ruth Hansen, instructor Connie Bernhardt, and Fatima for contributing to this incredible success story.


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