Vol­un­teers needed to sup­port refugees

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHANDRA

Tu­tors who can teach refugees English and ed­u­cate them about New Zealand are needed ur­gently in Auck­land.

English Lan­guage Part­ners teaches ba­sic English to refugees and new mi­grants from Africa, the Mid­dle East and Asia.

Co­or­di­na­tor Kate Peckitt said about 100 refugees and mi­grants, who they call learn­ers, are still with­out tu­tors for a Fe­bru­ary course.

‘‘Our waiting list is some­thing that we’ve never been able to re­duce be­cause de­spite the many vol­un­teers that we train, the list of learn­ers just con­tin­ues to grow,’’ Peckitt said.

Mt Roskill, Block­house Bay, New Wind­sor and New Lynn have the great­est need for vol­un­teers to do one-on-one classes.

The tu­tor­ing is for learn­ers who aren’t able to leave their home be­cause of their chil­dren, health and re­li­gious rea­sons.

Any­one who is able to free up one hour of their day to teach, has some knowl­edge of New Zealand and how things work, such as how to catch a bus and how to join a li­brary, can be­come a vol­un­teer.

‘‘Their English doesn’t have to be per­fect but they have to be con­fi­dent and fairly flu­ent.

‘‘We also have to con­duct a po­lice check on them.’’

New vol­un­teers un­dergo a 25-hour train­ing course be­fore they be­come tu­tors.

‘‘Some of these learn­ers have never had the op­por­tu­nity to study any­thing be­fore.

‘‘It’s not just about learn­ing English, it’s about the right to learn some­thing new and we want them to come here and fit in.’’

Peckitt said most of the learn­ers had chil­dren who spoke very good english be­cause of the schools they at­tended, and usu­ally acted as trans­la­tors for their par­ents.

‘‘Teach­ing them English is about en­abling and giv­ing them con­fi­dence to do sim­ple things like pick­ing up the phone to make a doc­tor’s ap­point­ment.

Peckitt said they also of­fered classes for learn­ers look­ing for em­ploy­ment.

English Lan­guage Part­ners work with groups like Plun­ket and Red Cross who re­fer new learn­ers to them.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.en­glish­language.org.nz.

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