Women of the UAE: Resilience pays off for single mother

Asmaa Zandaki continued her studies during a difficult marriage and became an interior designer. Now divorced, the mother of two opened her own company six months ago. Reem Mohammed / The National

Asmaa Zandaki beats the odds to open her own business.

SHARJAH // With the help and support of her father, Asmaa Zandaki has managed to beat every obstacle to open her own interior design company.

The 36-year old completed her university studies after a nine-year break despite the rigours of raising a son and a daughter and the disapproval of her husband.

“After high school I went to Syria to study Arabic literature. When I passed the third year, I got married at the age of 19,” she says.

“I couldn’t go back to Syria to continue my studies, so I worked as an administrator in Al Ittihad School.

“I then got pregnant with my daughter so I left the job and stayed at home. I was at home with a baby and after seven months I became pregnant with my second child.”

Asmaa’s father insisted on her return to education when her son was two and a half years old. He had asked her husband at their wedding to allow her to continue to study and his son-in-law had agreed, she says.

“But later, he would say things like ‘I don’t have the money’, and ‘how could you study with two kids and a home to look after?’” Asmaa says.

“My father used to insist that I continue my education, but I adapted to my life with children and a husband.

“One day, my dad came to my house and said, ‘Let’s go’. We went to Ajman University but registration was over.

“We then went to Al Ghurair University in Dubai, and my father applied, registered and paid for everything without me having a say in it.”

Initially it was difficult for her to go back to studying in English after such a long time, but she faced the challenge head-on.

“I was an A student throughout my courses and got a full scholarship and graduated with a high score,” Asmaa says.

“My husband would say, ‘You have to stay at home with the kids’, and ‘You are being away from them for too long’.

“But my timing was perfect because I used to take my kids in the morning to their school and pick them up in the afternoon while coming back from university.

“I used to work on my projects and studies after they were asleep at night. I would sometimes go two or three days without sleep because I would finish my work overnight and go to university in the morning.”

She was determined to prove that she could do it. A year after graduation, Asmaa and her husband divorced and she started her interior design company, which was already in demand before the doors opened six months ago.

“I had many customers even before having a company,” Asmaa says.

“I do villas, shops and restaurants in Dubai and Sharjah.

“I didn’t imagine that I would get these results in such a short period because I know any business takes about a year to reap its results.”

She now urges women not to give up on working life and to push themselves to be at their best.

Original Article: http://goo.gl/QT8Tm0

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