Continuing the story of our refugee family

School for Mum and Dad

Imagine arriving alone in a remote village in China.. .. .  no interpreter.  Chinese writing everywhere.  How do you feel?  Imagine!”

Learning English is THE major challenge for all newly arrived refugees.  Easier for children than for adults,  it is particularly difficult  for those not yet literate in their own language, like the father of our family.   Think of negotiating an application for benefits, dealing with house insurance, making medical appointments, talking to the school about a child…even the Driving Theory test – a task very close to his heart!    How much less help would our family have needed if they had been able to speak English? 

Sheffield College offered courses, but no places were available.   Fortunately, we found a suitable place in a community class at the SYAC centre in the Wicker, a short walk from home.  The teacher of this class, experienced and enthusiastic, readily accepted help in the class, and it has been our privilege to encourage students from different countries become friends, support each other, and progress together.

Homework sessions from these classes have been huge fun for the whole family, as they compete with the father to recognise words and numbers. 

The mother, in the late stages of pregnancy and then new motherhood, was not ready to join a class, so a group of us completed a short training course with SAVTE (Sheffield Association for Voluntary Teaching of English) – and she has a lesson at home every week.  Last week she had the confidence to phone us  – a real break-through.  Recently she has herself found a class near home.

 Learning a new language is never easy but first steps are the most difficult – and our family has made a start!

Kate McCullough ‘Home from Home Hallam’