“It all started with Evelina’s pomegranate”
Back in September 2015, I decided to spend Eid by helping those who had little left to celebrate. Joined by a group of friends (all ladies) we went to Idomeni, a small village in Greece, near the borders with the Republic of Macedonia. Since 2014, refugees (or life/safety seekers) from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries of the Middle East, congregated at this informal camp -the largest in Greece- with more than 15,000 people crowding at the Macedonian border, hoping to be allowed to continue their journey. We decided to lend our linguistic skills as well as our capable minds, hands & hearts to assist the exhausted helpers.
Humbled by the Greek volunteers who were helping the refugees with everything one can possibly imagine- clothing, food, toys, medicine, music & hand written signs saying: ‘Welcome to Greece’ (kalos irthes stin ELLADA). Efkharisto to our Greek brothers & sisters- thank you!
Few days into our time at the Idomeni camp, a Greek lady approached me, Evelina. I was stacking the shoe boxes for the next group of refugees that was about to approach our tent for more suitable footwear to carry them onto their next stop. Her face was calm, warm & friendly, whilst I couldn’t see too clearly after a bee had decided to sting my eyelid a few minutes earlier. The bee’s souvenir was not the thing that I was going to remember this particular day in September. “I have something for you Mariam”, she said softly. “Open your hand please”- and placed a perfectly shaped pomegranate into the palm of my hand. Thankful yet surprised I asked her: ‘Why a pomegranate?’ She responded with a confident smile that made her voice even more memorable: ‘In Greece, the pomegranate stands for all the good things in life. Happiness, luck, fertility, abundance, marriage. The seeds of this fruit stand for the days in your life and the opportunities that life brings with it.’ A hug & a car ride later & I found myself researching ‘what else’, pomegranates back in my hotel room in Thessaloniki.Surprised yet enthused I read that the pomegranate fruit has been used throughout history and in virtually every religion as a symbol of humanity’s central beliefs and ideals, namely, life and death, rebirth and eternal life, fertility and marriage, and abundance.
Best time for planting pomegranates
Sources disagree about how many seeds a pomegranate holds. Some estimate the number to exactly 613, some allow for a rounding up & down of +/- 200, yet others believe that all pomegranates have the exact same number of seeds. I personally liked the idea of 365 seeds- one for each day, opportunity & lesson.
Upon my return to Dubai- no time was wasted. A fruitful chat with my French teacher & friend Marie & couple of coffee top ups later- et voilà – our vision board took shape & colour, as well as a name: Pomegranate Institute- Seeds of Knowledge!
We worked relentlessly to put together a Dubai-worthy concept, a pom-tastic team & a philosophy to make education available to everyone, everywhere, anytime. Especially to those, who have a hunger for it, yet cannot find access to it- for whatever reasons! With us, they have a team, a place, a promise & future.
Research states, that the best time to plant pomegranate seeds is in mid-winter, so that they can have a couple of months to grow before spring planting season. The doors to our institute opened in December 2016, currently witnessing the growth & blossoming of our seeds of knowledge. Our secret ingredients for juicy pomegranates: passion, dedication, honesty, a family-like atmosphere & lots of smiles!
A new language is a new life: ambassador of betterment & change
Education symbolises help for self-help. Empowering individuals through the means of education is something us ‘Pom-tarians’ firmly believe in. Our combined background, education & experience qualify us to help individuals to improve their quality of life. Our aim is to help learners reach a better understanding of what they are truly capable of.
We want Pomegranate Institute to be an inspirational leader in the fields of Languages, Culture & Professional Development- for all of those wishing to master the tools of successful communication.
Our super flexible & proficient Pom-Team focuses on people of all ages & cultures. We offer 20 languages (and counting), Intercultural Understanding, Personal & Professional Development. Whether face to face, in our beautiful institute in Al Barsha, virtually with a global outreach or in your company’s premises.
We are the masters of innovative fun-learning techniques & we seek inspiration from our students, families, friends & our environment.
A farm, a supermarket, an airport or a coffee shop can be a perfect learning spot for anyone interesting in furthering their abilities. The content of our courses is relevant & tailored precisely to the needs of our learners- we hear you & adapt!
Mastering a new language can serve as an ice breaker, a connector, an added competitive value on your CV. It makes the world a smaller place & turns us into global citizens. Multi Language Classes (MLC) for the eager learners, acquiring three languages in the same course! For those seeking an alternate way of non-verbal communication- we highly recommend sign language- eyes become the ears & hands become the mouth!
Not even few months into business & we have already won a recognition award & created strategic partnerships across the globe to send & receive our learners to show them the best of us & our partners.
Educate a woman & you educate a nation
I have worked on women empowerment projects in Jordan, Syria, Pakistan & made it part of my being to inspire girls & ladies to reach for the stars.
Empowering & reaching those in need is one of our founding pillars of the institute- you are welcome to learn, when & if you want to learn. Be our guest!
Motivation & confidence building can work its magic & change someone’s life forever! All it takes is seizing the right moment & the strong self-belief that there is a right way & that you can & will walk it until you reach your goal, as the saying goes “where there is a will there is a way”.
Now that our pomegranates have ripened, your turn has come to take charge of your own destiny by planting & harvesting your seeds of a newly acquired knowledge & an improved you! Our doors stand wide open for you, so come over for a pom-juice or cup of pom-tea- anytime.
We speak global- so can you!