We are thankful that the Lord has provided helpers this summer to embark on a new endeavor – teaching refugees conversational English during the summer school break! The idea for this came at the request of several refugees and their children who are already enrolled through the UN in ‘normal’ schools in their host country
but came from parts of Syria where English was not widely taught. They really lacked the resources and access to native English speakers to get a grasp on the language, andhoped for some kind of summer English clinics to help their kids – and give some basics to the moms and dads too. After prayer and consultation, and then findingout two young college-age volunteers wanted to sacrifice their summer vacation to come help with it, we decided to move ahead and try to make this a reality for the refugees in our community. Please pray for this endeavor, that the students would learn well and that the classes would be a blessing to the many coming!
Why is it helpful for these refugees to learn English? Even if many of them do not get resettled in English speaking countries (which is still always a possibility) the ability to speak English can often help them find work in local shops and businesses (or as taxi/lorry drivers, delivery, etc…), help their kids to do better on school exams, and also allow them to interact with Westerners much easier in the future. It’s also a great way to share English Bible verses with them at the end of each session from the English Bible (which arguably influenced the development of the English language in many ways over the centuries) as part of the course work and help them grasp the meaning of some of the more widely known verses they might hear elsewhere.
We are doing three separate classes right now for children, men and women. We are about half-way through the courses this summer and so far have had about 30-40 attending the children’s classes and about 15-20 in the adult women’s and men’s classes. What has encouraged us the most is that the students keep coming back despite the hot weather, the long walk mid-day for many of them, or the late nights for the men’s classes (which need to happen after the normal work day). We are also encouraged that the volunteer teachers from America haven’t given up yet either despite the steady demands on their time and energy with the classes and kids! Some of the adult students now eagerly run up to us when we visit to attempt their phrases they learned that day, and the kids stammer out a broken “How are you today? I am fine…” which may not sound like much, but it’s come from zero to here in just a month. We hope to continue on through the heat of the summer before school will begin again, and then we will have to evaluate the ability for any further classes after that.