As founder of Jad’s Inclusion, a UAE-based institution that helps bridge the gap between mainstream and special education, Rana Atassi has her hands full providing guidance to parents whose kids normally attend her school, but are unable to do so due to the current situation. If that’s not all, she is a mother of two who need to be homeschooled as well. She talks to Friday about how her life and perspectives have been impacted by the pandemic.

What was an average day like for you before Covid-19 took over?

Wake up in the morning with my kids to get them ready for school, do some work from home such as getting back to emails and phone calls, then have coffee with my husband and head to work. I come back home at around 3:30-4pm to spend time with the kids, have dinner and maybe watch a movie or see some friends with my husband.

Since when have you been working from home? And please tell us the number of family members who are at home with you.

I’ve been working from home since 8th March, and we’re a family of four — my husband and I and our two boys, Zeid and Adam.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have been faced with while working from home?

Finding time to balance between homeschooling and work. Since I’m the founder of Jad’s Inclusion, an institution that helps fill the gap between mainstream and special needs education here in the UAE, it is important for me to ensure open communication exists between myself, team and the parents whose children normally attend our school. I also manage the school’s social media, which means I have to constantly try to strike a balance between staying connected with my community of followers online and my home life.

How difficult was it to adjust to this new reality?

I’m actually loving the quiet, chilled time catching up with a lot of pending things and spending actual quality time with the family.

How are you and your family spending time? Favourite activities that you enjoy doing together. Exercise routine.

Board games is something that was introduced recently to our family. We’re doing a lot of movie nights with the kids and swimming. I’m getting to know all the skin names and types in Fortnite. 

What are you and your family doing to manage the anxiety that is stemming from the pandemic?

Let’s just say that my family and I have gone through enough in life to let such a thing cause us anxiety. We’re good for now.

What are some of the things you miss from your life when Covid-19 had still not affected us?

Seeing my friends and going to the movies – more for the nachos and the hot dog than the actual movie. 

What will be the first thing you’d like to do once this scare of Covid-19 is over?

Travel and spend some quality time with my best friend. 

What have you learnt about yourself during this trying time?

That in the future I have to force myself to take breaks – that sometimes in life when you take a step back it can help you move forward faster.

What will be your favourite memory from this experience, something you’d perhaps like to share with your grandkids one day?

Not memory but more like fascinated of how a small virus controlled the entire world in no time. It’s almost unreal and hard to process. I wonder how this will impact tomorrow. 

One lesson you think the world should remember from this experience.

NEVER take ANYTHING for granted. I also believe it’s important to find ways to stay connected to others. I often look to the communities I’ve built on Facebook and Instagram where people come together to share their challenges, victories and moments of inspiration. We all need to embrace the positive moments and remember that we are all going through this together.

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