Angelina Jolie posts photo of 87-year-old Egyptian woman taking literacy test

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Mar 2023

Famous Hollywood actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie posted on her official Instagram account on Saturday a picture of an 87-year-old Egyptian woman, named Zubaida, taking her literacy exam under the Egyptian social solidarity ministry’s initiative No Illiteracy with Takafol.

Zubaida taking her literacy exam


Jolie, who is a former Special Envoy of the UN Refugee Agency, said she was inspired by Zubaida’s initiative to overcome her illiteracy at the age of 87. Zubaida is a mother of eight children – two of whom are dead – and a grandmother of 13.

Zubaida passed her exam in January and attained her literacy certificate, which she called a “new birth certificate,” according to a statement released by the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Zubaida was not educated as a child, as she was the daughter of a man who “did not see the importance of female education”, and after the death of her father, she insisted that her sisters have an education and stood by them until this was achieved, the ministry said.

Zubaida, who got married at the age of 18, also sent all her children, four boys and four girls, to be educated.

She would sell some simple goods in front of her children's school, out of keenness to follow them and for fear that they would drop out, according to the ministry.

Zubaida joined the No illiteracy with Takafol initiative after the facilitators of the initiative arrived in her governorate, Menoufia, and offered her admittance in September 2022, said the statement.  

Zubaida was offered to be tutored at home due to her age, but she refused, saying “it is my life’s dream to sit on a desk. Wherever you are [the tutor], I will come to you to teach me.”

The initiative targets beneficiaries of the Takaful and Karama programme (Solidarity and Dignity), starting the age of 17, and runs under the supervision of the Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj.

The programme was launched in 2015 to support impoverished families with school-age children, the elderly, and people with special needs. El-Qabbaj announced in March 2022 that women constitute 74 percent of its beneficiaries.

Menoufia, as of late December (2022), had 487 classrooms with 6,000 students, the ministry said.

Nationwide, 9,000 classrooms have been established since the launch of the initiative in July 2022.

According to a report issued by the Cabinet Media Centre in the same month, 2.6 million women benefit from the Takaful and Karama programme.

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