CAIRO – Loris El-Haj, a Danish Muslim has received the best teacher award in the European country, in recognition of her efforts to help refugees in elementary schools.
“She likes to develop and improve her teaching so that students can learn and understand in many different ways,” writes the scientific panel, Politiken newspaper reported.
According to the paper, El-Haj was picked amongst 430 teachers in the elementary school category.
The Muslim teacher, who dons Islamic hijab, is a refugee herself who came to Denmark from Lebanon at the age of 15.
Coming to Denmark, she remembers the goal she set for herself to learn 50 new words every day. Four months later, she enrolled in an ordinary Danish 8th grade.
Twenty-five years later, she is working to help refugees to acquire language so fast, encouraging more integration in the country.
“Their vocabulary is very limited,” El-Haj said about new refugees.
As a teacher, I should help to develop this vocabulary. I’ve even been there, so I know how hard it is to find out all these meanings,” she added.
Bidar, a 16-year-old refugee who fled Syria a year and a half ago, is one of those El-Haj is helping.
Bidar completed the equivalent to 9th grade in Syria, before he and his family fled to Denmark.
“It is not just about language but about all teaching,” he said.
“It’s hard for me to go back to school and learn something new, But Loris has always said that if you say it’s difficult, you cannot learn it, never.”
For the young student, overcoming the war he witnessed in Syria was not an easy task without El-Haj’s help.
“You can forget the past and start over. That she has done, “said Bidar.
“She gives us courage so that we can forget what has happened.”