Volunteers needed to support refugees
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.