Zeinab, 11, a schoolgirl from Upper Egypt, is keen on school and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. In this short interview she tells us about her life, her family, her favourite food (and how to cook it).
1 - Tell us about yourself
I’m Zeinab; a girl who likes education, school, my teachers and my friends. I like education because as the saying goes “seek knowledge even if in China” (an old Arab proverb meaning even if you have to travel far, it’s worth it to gain knowledge -ed). I love my mother and father because they do everything for me and I’m happy when they are happy.
2 - What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up?
I think about the day; I get up and wash my face, get dressed and do errands for the house. Then I pray…I also feel happy because I will go to school and see my teachers and my friends.
3 - How has WFP helped you?
It helped me with the food it gives us; the rice and the biscuits and helped me to go to school because my parents only agreed to send me to school when they knew it was for free. It helped me go to school because “knowledge is light”.
4 - And what is your favourite dish?
Potatoes, or Moloukheyya (a kind of green stew/soup eaten with bread – ed)
5 - Pick one dish and tell me how you make it Potatoes! I get first the potatoes, peel it, cut it into slices and set aside to soak in water. Then I get an onion, wash it and brown it in a pan. Last thing I add a red bell pepper and the potatoes and let all cook together.
6 - What’s your favourite movie?
I watch all movies but I liked Salam ya Sahbi (Adieu my Friend). It talked about friendship; about a man and his friend who are always together and are never separated.
7 - What’s your favourite school subject?
Religion, Arabic and Maths. Arabic, because I learn things that I do not know about Egypt, Tourism and anything I don’t know I find in Arabic textbooks.
8 - What do you want to be when you’re older?
I wish to become a teacher to teach unprivileged girls whose parents are not allowing them to go to school.
9 - Who are the most important people in your life and why?
My paternal grandfather, my mother, my father and my maternal grandfather, and my mother! My mother makes me happy and doesn’t deprive me of anything she and my father.
10 - What message would you like to give to other children around the world?
I’d like to tell uneducated girls that they should go to school. So that if they walk in a place and get lost they can read the road signs (and get directions). I love education. I want them all to like education.
Zeinab comes from the upper Egyptian town of Fayoum about 100 km southwest of Cairo. Her family receives food every month as long as she goes to school 85 percent of the time. Zeinab also gets a nutritious snack during the school day to boost her energy and help her concentrate during class. Learn more about school meals
Reem Nada joined the World Food Programme in early 2009 after a ten-year journalism career working for print and radio in Egypt and the Middle East. Before joining WFP she was the English-language correspondent for Deutsche Welle Radio (DW) and a contributor for NPR, France 24 and CBS. Reem has a masters degree in Multi-Media journalism from Bournemouth University in the UK and speaks Arabic and English fluently.