#NeverStopLearningEducationRole Models

80 yr old Zainab Al-Kanziya: The Oldest College Graduate from Sudan

The old Arabic saying says…

Request education from the cradle to the grave/”اطلب العلم من المهد الى اللحد”

Zainab Allam Al-Kanziya, an 80-year old woman from Sudan did exactly just that.

Zainab Allam Al-Kanziya was forced to leave her studies because of her marriage and children. Nevertheless, Zainab, a.k.a Zainab Blue, had the dream of education lit up inside her. She returned to Sudan in 1991, with her husband and family, and a few years later, she signed up for the exam of the Sudanese Certificate of Civil Studies at the Institute of Hrona. However, Zainab failed this exam three times, but that did not keep her from pursuing her dream!

After four years of trying, she finally passed the exam and  received this certificate that will qualify her to register in the University of Rabat, Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sudan. Her degree in Islamic Studies would take her three years to receive. And in 2015, Zainab became the oldest Sudanese woman, actually one of the oldest people in the Arab world, to receive a college degree! She celebrated this great achievement with her children and even her grandchildren, who are also educated.

In France 24’s reportage of Zainab’s great achievement, Zainab recites some verses of an Arabic poem to shed light on the importance of knowledge, as she believes that ‘knowledge can make the dead, alive’. The President of the University of Rabat also added, “Although the University encouraged her pursuit of knowledge, Zainab received no special treatment at all.” 

Zainab is a role model to many people out in the world, not necessarily just Arabs. She is living proof that you’re never too old to stop learning!

If you’re inspired by Zainab’s achievement, leave us a smile and let us know!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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