Al hamdu lillaah wa salaatu wa salaamu ‘ala Rasoolullaah.
As you may or may not have heard, the Darul Arqam has relocated to serve a larger community with much greater needs- Dar Naem. Many have asked about our decision to relocate and we hope to answer your questions below, insha’Allah.
Why has the Darul Arqam moved to Dar Naem?
We know Dar Naem and have been acquainted with the community and its people for many years. While those may seem like good reasons to plant a school here, we were sincerely concerned about our ability to meet the ever-growing needs of the community with our very limited staff and resources. In Dar Naem, you might meet a boy like eight-year-old Salah, who despite his mother’s best attempts to teach him Qur’an at home, is still unable to read basic Arabic. Even worse, you might meet a girl like 12-year-old Mina, who was kicked out of the public school system after repeating the fourth grade because she’s illiterate.
The children we’ve met in Dar Naem are the exact community that motivated us to establish the Darul Arqam- these are the children we seek to serve. The families care deeply about their children’s religious education but have not found viable options in both the academic and traditional school systems.
Where is Dar Naem?
It’s still here in the capital (Nouakchott), approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) away from Buhdeedah, our previous location. We explored the option of commuting students from Dar Naem to our old location daily but we couldn’t afford to maintain it.
What are your plans for the area?
Our goals are the same- to provide quality Islaamic education to our youth; however, the population here is much poorer, so we’d like to engage in more community service through the school. We have plans of distributing food and clothing to our residents. It’s important for Mauritanians to see aid coming from their community of brothers and sisters, as opposed to looking for foreign aid.
What are the challenges of teaching in Dar Naem?
Many traditional schools have started and failed here because of the families’ inability to maintain a modest salary for their teachers. The private academic schools are overcrowded, in an attempt to generate an adequate salary for their teachers. Unfortunately, this greatly hinders the substandard quality of education they already offer. As a result, many children are idle in the streets but we believe that they have as much a right to quality education as anyone else and we want to unlock their limitless potential.
What will make the Darul Arqam different from the currently available schools?
Most importantly, the Darul Arqam is not a for-profit, business venture. We’re not trying to “flip a couple of ouguiyas (local currency)”. We involve our families and work second jobs to keep the school afloat. Our priority is the children and we’ll serve as many students as we possibly can, while maintaining high-quality instruction and providing a competitive education, insha Allaah ta’ala. Success is with Allaah. Our responsibility is to purify our intentions and strive to do the best with what we have available. If you help Allaah’s religion, Allah will help you.
What kind of community do you want to create for the students of Dar Naem?
In the past, we’ve had families who stopped sending their children to us because of their inability to pay. This is not what we want! We are looking for family support and commitment, so a child who is prepared for learning by being tidy, on time, and well-mannered is always welcomed. This is the environment we want to create, insha’Allah- an environment that is clean, orderly, and inviting for our young seekers of knowledge.
How can we assist the Darul Arqam?
Because we serve many desperate families in a very impoverished neighborhood, the demands here are much greater. We are looking for donors who are willing and able to sponsor full or partial salaries for our teachers. This support will enable us to accept a greater number of students.
Up to now we’ve been working with both volunteer and near-volunteer teachers, who we are not able to compensate adequately. As a result, some of our teachers could not afford to commit to consistent instruction because of the financial limitations. We’ve expended our dependable teachers to the fullest and as the children’s levels vary, meeting their needs is nearly impossible without additional support.
Currently, we’re in need of a few teachers. We’re also requesting learning resources- developmental props, learning materials, supplies, etc. Lastly, we are in need of righteous supplications for sincerity and the improvement of our ummah.