Nour’s Story: “Life and dreams are within us”
Courage & Persistence
Notes scrawled with motivational messages stuck to her bedside table, the mirror, the refrigerator and walls. Balancing school, work and single motherhood required all of Nour Tamimi’s courage and determination. Through early mornings, full days and long nights, she studied hard and worked hard, all while snuggling her children – persevering to create a better life for her family.
“I was very determined to succeed,” Nour said. “I had to write reminders for myself when things felt really hard and when I didn’t know if I could do it.”
Nour, a Lebanese immigrant, enrolled in the International Institute of Minnesota’s Nursing Assistant Training and Medical Career Advancement programs, working her way from being an unemployed teen immigrant in an abusive, forced marriage to having a career as a registered nurse (RN).
Success wasn’t overnight.
Nour bravely left her forced marriage in 2013. She spoke little English, had no family or friends and no exposure to life outside the house. Once she and her children moved into a domestic violence shelter, the possibilities of life began to open up. It was during this time that she learned about the Institute’s Nursing Assistant training.
“It’s been a tough journey. It’s been a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of consistency, a lot of tears … But if we really want to do something – really want it so bad – we can totally do it. I think it’s possible.”
A Bold First Step
Her first, bold step into the classroom would change the direction of Nour and her children’s lives forever.
“I was a single parent with five kids. I was very overwhelmed at the beginning. I didn’t know if I could do it,” Nour said. “Then I started, and I was in love with the staff and the materials I was diving into. I learned about budgeting. I improved my English. I learned a lot.”
Her motivation? Supporting herself and her children.
“For the first time in my life, I had a career. It felt amazing. Accomplishing, confident, strong. I was proud to have a job,” Nour said. “I was always told I would never be anything.”
During that time she also trained for and completed the Twin Cities Marathon, which she said helped with “clarity of mind.” Working as a nursing assistant helped her and her family become self-sufficient.
She credits an Institute teacher for encouraging her – a memory she still thinks about, almost a decade later, as she writes those sticky notes to herself.
“She would whisper in my ear, ‘You can do it.’ I believed her,” Nour said. “I still hear her voice whisper in my ear.”