A former primary school teacher from London has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education in Oman.
Jane Jaffer, founder of the Let’s Read Campaign, which aims to encourage a love of reading in children, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
In an interview with Oman’s Times TV, Mrs Jaffer said she was shocked to learn of the award and admitted she “nearly fell off the chair” after being told by staff at the British embassy in Muscat.
She said: “I feel completely unworthy but certainly deeply honoured. It’s lovely to be recognised for your efforts and I love the fact that the Queen in her New Year and Birthday Honours tries to look at the unsung heroes – people who are working in civil society, volunteers, in education, teachers, doctors – people who otherwise maybe wouldn’t get the recognition.
Mrs Jaffer moved from London to Oman in 1980 and went on to set up a nursery, before moving into health education and later training as a yoga teacher.
In 2007 she established the Let’s Read initiative, which promotes reading in Oman and provides youngsters with access to books.
She said: “One thing that has always been very dear to my heart is the love of learning and for children to become lifelong learners. When you read you learn a lot about yourself, about other people, and you develop empathy. You learn how you would deal with certain situations and develop your imagination.”
In a statement on social media, Britain’s embassy in Oman hailed the decision and congratulated Mrs Jaffer.
It said: “We are thrilled that Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Mrs Jane Jaffer an MBE in the Birthday Honours List. Jane’s contribution to education in Oman is renowned, particularly through her Let’s Read Campaign. It is wonderful to see her achievements recognised in this way.”