x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Working mother with something to prove

Laila Ali had something to prove, she says. The 26-year-old mother had never worked before and she wanted to contribute to society.

Laila Ali had something to prove, she says. The 26-year-old mother had never worked before and she wanted to contribute to society. So after reading about Aswaaq in the newspaper she applied, she says. And when she was offered a job as a baker and merchandiser, she jumped at it. "What is important for me is to rely on myself," Mrs Ali says. "Not to rely on anyone to pay for me or serve me. I am paying for myself by doing this kind of work."

She started training and working in March at the Aswaaq grocery store outlet in the Al Mizhar area of Dubai, where she lives. Six times a week, she leaves her three sons - Soud, aged nine, Suleiman, six, and Ali, two-and-a-half years old - with her mother and sets off for Aswaaq to start her shift. Sometimes her sons visit her at work, she says. Mrs Ali is responsible for baking products such as bread, cakes and pastries, as well as keeping the shelves stocked.

She says the job can be tough, but she sees a future with the skills she has picked up. "I like baking and I think I would like to open my own bakery." * Armina Ligaya