Vol­un­teer talks to mi­grants

Wanneroo Times - - Front Page -

HOCKING res­i­dent Ellen Levett (89) loves help­ing peo­ple talk so much she trav­els to Carlisle twice a week to do so.

The vol­un­teer helps peo­ple tak­ing part in the Adult Mi­grant English Pro­gram (AMEP) at the South Met­ro­pol­i­tan Tafe cam­pus de­velop their English-speak­ing skills.

Mrs Levett said she had met peo­ple from many coun­tries, in­clud­ing South Korea, Afghanistan and Pak­istan, through the group chats, where vol­un­teers help stu­dents prac­tice what they learn from the AMEP teach­ers.

“I love it; I meet such beau­ti­ful peo­ple,” she said.

“I help mi­grants and refugees with their English.

“I’m help­ing the stu­dents un­der­stand English and to be able to con­verse in English.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult for them to be able to just talk to some­body (so) that’s the role that we take.

“I can’t imag­ine what it must be like to live in a coun­try and not be able to go shop­ping and talk to some­body.”

The great-grand­mother spends about four hours a week help­ing the stu­dents, but it takes up far more of her time as she catches pub­lic trans­port.

“I leave home about 7.45am and get home about 2pm two days a week,” she said.

Mrs Levett, who will cel­e­brate her 90th birth­day in May, said she joined AMEP “many years ago” and had no plans to stop vol­un­teer­ing.

“I’m nearly 90 and I’m do­ing some­thing – I’m not just sit­ting at home twid­dling my thumbs,” she said.

Mrs Levett said her stu­dents were gen­er­ally nice peo­ple.

“They have come from in­cred­i­ble back­grounds – some of the sto­ries that I know break your heart,” she said.

“They want a bet­ter life, not just for them­selves but for their chil­dren.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

Ellen Levett vol­un­teers by help­ing peo­ple learn how to speak English. d479550

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