Emirates 247 –
Khawla Ahmed Khamis of Dubai had never thought she would become an experienced diver as she had not known how to swim.
The 24-year-old woman is now a trained diver and is unusually encouraged by her father.
A mother of two girls, Khawla belongs to an 18-member family and seven of her sisters are also good divers.
By embarking on such a daring and risky hobby, Khawla has not only conquered the sea but long-standing social barriers that have kept native women away from many activities mistakenly deemed fit only for men.
Through her adventures beneath the azure Gulf water, Khawla has developed extraordinary skills how to deal with dangerous sea animals and has learned what she described as a very important fact– that marine creatures could be friendly and harmless unless attacked.
“Most girls in the UAE still shy away from diving because their families either do not what them to be divers or do not allow them to be trained by men in the absence of female trainers,” she said.
”My sister was trained by a male diver– Captain Mohammed Issa…she has obtained a licence in diving and this has opened the door for other sisters and many other girls to have diving lessons.”
Quoted by ‘Emarat Al Youm’ newspaper, Khawla said seven of her sisters are trained divers and that they are encouraged by their father, mother and brothers to dive and engage in many other activities considered by some as “taboo” for women in the country.
“My father is a retired military man…he and my brothers have played a major role in helping me break the fear barrier and shoulder responsibility.”