ATMIDAH, Egypt – Every day up to 30 children gather for school lessons in a narrow village street in Egypt’s northern Dakahlia province.
Their teacher is 12-year-old Reem El-Khouly, who started offering instruction to her younger neighbors in Atmidah, about 50 miles northeast of Cairo, when schools across Egypt were shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thought that instead of having them play in the street, I can teach them,” said Khouly.
“I wake up in the morning, pray and I call them to start the classes. I teach them Arabic, mathematics, religion and English.”
Khouly started using just a notebook before being given a blackboard and some chalk. Now she has a whiteboard and marker pens donated by a local company.
“Once the schools were closed, Reem started teaching us so that we don’t forget what we learned at school,” said Mohamed Abdel Moneim, a nine-year-old who attends the classes.
“I love Miss Reem because I really understand Arabic, maths and English due to her teaching.”
Khouly hopes to work as a maths teacher when she is older.
“My mum didn’t encourage me in the beginning because my voice was loud, but she encouraged me when she saw how the students were interacting with me and benefiting, and told me I can do this as long as I like it,” she said.