Star Emirati pupil tells of pride at Ruler's university scholarship

Dina Fayez dreams of creating Arabic school book to make language more popular

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A visually impaired school pupil in Ajman who scored 99.14 per cent in her final exams will major in the Arabic language after Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, pledged to cover her university tuition fees.

Dina Fayez, 18, was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease where cells in the retina break down slowly, resulting loss of vision.

Despite visual impairment, the Jordanian studies for a minimum of five hours every day.

I love Arabic language and dream to design Arabic school books that will help make the language more popular among younger generations
Dina Fayez

“I studied between five and six hours every day and used a magnifying device that help me to see the text in the books clearly,” said Dina, who attends Al Dahra School in Dubai’s Hatta area because it is the closest to her residence in Muzairah, Ajman, close to the Oman border.

Thanks to her dedication to studying and mother’s constant help, Dina was offered a full university scholarship by Sheikh Humaid.

Her family have also been also offered a home closer to Ajman city.

“For some reason, I expected the scholarship because generosity and fostering talents is not strange to UAE Rulers, but the house grant was a surprise for me,” Dina told The National.

Love for Arabic language

Dina Fayez uses a device to enlarge text which helps her study. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Maths was her favourite subject in school and Dina would often explain problems to her classmates.

When she was named among UAE's top performers, she said her classmates celebrated.

Despite her love for maths, her dream is to study Arabic.

“I love Arabic language and dream to design Arabic schoolbooks that will help make the language more popular among younger generations,” Dina said.

Her father, an assistant engineer at a private company in Dubai who has been living and working in the UAE for more than 25 years, said Dina is a fighter.

“She always wanted to prove herself and despite her complete loss of sight in one eye and seeing only 10 per cent in the other, she did it,” her father Ahmed told The National.

He said his daughter plans to attend the University of Sharjah.

“His Highness said he will cover the costs at whichever university she decides to join and asked me how will Dina commute to and from the university of her choosing before he ordered a new house for us that is closer to the city,” he said.

Mr Ahmed said no words were sufficient to describe the family’s happiness and Sheikh Humaid's generosity.

Memorised questions

Dina, who was born in the UAE in 2004, was less than a year old when her family noticed she had a problem with her eyes. They visited several doctors over a number of years and medical reports piled up.

“We noticed she reacted to the sounds we make not to our movements,” said her mother, Khloud.

“We took her to many doctors here and in Jordan but then stopped because it was affecting her emotionally.”

It was a tough journey for Dina’s mother, who devoted herself to their only daughter and gave up her job as a physics teacher.

She said she used to read textbooks out loud to help Dina memorise mathematical equations.

“By the time she graduated from Grade 11, she had also memorised the whole Quran,” Dina's mother said

Being surrounded with love and support from her family, friends and school, Dina was able to live a happy childhood, her mother said.

“I devoted my life to her because she is my life.”

Updated: July 13, 2022, 6:27 AM