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Career set to take off

PUBLISHED: 13:27 06 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:35 05 July 2010

A woman who won a major education prize after fleeing the hardship of her African homeland and settling in Norfolk could soon see her fortunes taking off even further.

A woman who won a major education prize after fleeing the hardship of her African homeland and settling in Norfolk could soon see her fortunes taking off even further.

After reading Souad Dhifli's remarkable story of how she left a life of virtual slavery as a servant in Tunisia to live and study in Yarmouth, a college in a neighbouring town has offered to help her realise her dream - of becoming an air stewardess.

Souad, 29, who last week collected an Adult Learners Week regional award for her efforts in learning English, was yesterday thrilled to be told of the offer from Lowestoft College to join its air cabin crew course.

She will now attend an interview at the college on June 12.

Having been denied education as she grew up and sent away from home at the age of 10 to be a servant, when she was beaten and kicked, Souad said education now meant everything to her. “I had a hard life before but now I can start rebuilding myself. I always think I am lucky,” she said.

She had found the courage to leave her homeland, coming to Norfolk and studying English at Yarmouth College, after becoming friendly with Caister couple Derek and Shelly Johnson who had employed her as a cleaner while they worked in Tunisia.

Souad, who would have been destined for an arranged marriage if she had stayed in Tunisia, said: “The course at Lowestoft sounds great. I am grateful they have got in touch and I will be keen to talk to them.”

Jo Hillier, from the college's travel and tourism department, said: “Souad sounds like a great girl and certainly one who deserves to succeed in life. We will do our best to help her do just that.”

Ms Hillier said they already attracted students of all ages from countries around the world, including India, Romania, Poland, Spain and Thailand.

She said: “We have excellent contacts with many airlines and have a great success rate in gaining employment for our students at the end of the course.”

Ms Hillier added that the college had excellent facilities including an environmental tank in which cabin crew students could experience emergency procedures in water.

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