Moldovan woman teaches mathematics in Kurdish in Rojava

Elena Mihemed went to Rojava 20 years ago and learned Kurdish. Now, she teaches children mathematics in Kurdish.


Qamishlo- Elena Mihemed is a Moldovan woman graduated from the department of mathematics in Moldova. In 2003, she married and moved to Qamishlo, northeastern Syria. Knowing five languages, she now teaches children mathematics in Kurdish.

 ‘Coming to Rojava was like stepping into a new world’

 She told us her story from Moldova to North and East Syria, “Moving to a new country is not easy for anyone. You must learn a new language, culture and tradition. It’s like you move to another world. Coming to Rojava was like stepping into a new world for me. Everything, their language, culture and tradition was new for me. So, it took me a long time to get to know them. The first months of my marriage were very difficult. After our marriage, my husband joined the army of the Baath regime. I decided to learn Kurdish because I felt alone.”

‘I passed the advanced level in 2014’

Elena Mihemed took Kurdish courses for years and she passed the advanced level in Kurdish language in 2014. “I made many mistakes in spelling and writing. After taking three level Kurdish courses, I learned the grammar of the Kurdish language very well and many Kurdish words. I cannot say that my Kurdish level is very good, I should improve my Kurdish more.”

‘Social relations made me learn the language fast’

Noting that social relations in North and East Syria are much stronger than in Moldova, Elena Mihemed said, “Their relationship with each other is very good. Social relations here made me learn the Kurdish language fast. In Moldova, people are individualist, focusing on their own problems. They do not know how social and neighbor relations are important. Another thing that draws my attention here is the efforts of people to keep the environment clean all the time. It is not like in Moldova; they try to protect the environment and nature.”

 ‘You should get to know the country where you move to’

Highlighting that people should get to know the country where they move to, Elena Mihemed said, “You should learn how to swim before you go into the sea. Other societies and countries are like that, when you move to another country, you should learn the thoughts, cultures and languages of people.”

‘Kurdish is as important a language as Arabic’

“Kurdish is as important a language as Arabic,” Elena Mihemed said. “Both languages are important. By knowing your own mother language, you can have an advanced science and revive the forgotten memories of your society. The development of science and language develops your society. There are thousands of books in libraries for people to learn about themselves, their culture and history.”

‘I teach children mathematics in Kurdish’

Elena Mihemed thinks that learning a language is as beautiful as it is difficult. “I know Romanian and Russian. In Rojava, I learned Kurdish, English and French. Now, I teach children mathematics in Kurdish.” Underlining that every person has one or more dreams, she said, “People need both time and opportunity to realize their dreams. I dream of seeing more countries and learning more cultures and traditions. I will realize my dreams.”