Springvale Neighbourhood House

Rohingya Community English and Digital Literacy Classes

The English language can be a challenge to learn.

It’s especially difficult when the native language doesn’t share borrowed words or similar grammatical patterns. Without the basics, it’s tough to integrate into a new country - even tougher if you’re seeking asylum as many Rohingya currently are.

Amnesty International claims that the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, with Rohingya women and children particularly at risk.*

With our goal to support the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the areas where our members live and work, the LUCRF Super Community program is leveraging the services of the Springvale Neighbourhood House to support Rohingya asylum seekers as they strive to participate in Australian society.

This best-practice education and training provider has been delivering services to people from a broad spectrum of cultural backgrounds for more than 15 years. It celebrates the cultures of all students and tailors the learning process and pace to meet unique needs.

Drawing on their comprehensive experience, the organisation has designed and is delivering an English and digital literacy class specific to the Rohingya people, many who have had little to no formal education in their own language.

The classes will open the door to ordinary activities that many of us may take for granted that can make a profound difference to a person’s quality of life. These include being able to speak to your child’s teacher, visiting a doctor or buying the weekly groceries. The program will also help pave the way for future employment.

Keen to improve skills

One participant is a 35-year-old Rohingya woman who fled her Myanmar home and reached Australia in July 2017. Keen to integrate into the Australian society, she enrolled in the program to build skills that will help her earn an income, become self-sufficient and contribute to the community. She feels that the learning programs at Springvale Neighbourhood House have given her a good start. She seeks to develop positive relationships with other students, while attempting to master her communication skills. She’s also beginning to learn about gender issues and women's rights, sharing this knowledge with her community.

Zest for life to reach goals

In her home country of Myanmar, Zahalaya was an enterprising woman and worked hard as a fishmonger.

Now in Australia Zahalaya encourages women from her community to attend class each week and is deeply invested in the progress of her friends and family members within this community.

When her confidence in speaking English advances even further, Zahalaya hopes to run a cleaning business with her husband, or perhaps work in child or aged care. With her zest for life and steely determination, these goals seem well within her reach.

We wish the program and its participants the best of luck and look forward to updates as the program continues.

*Amnesty International, 2017, Amnesty International, Sydney, viewed 26 October 2018, https://www.amnesty.org.au/who-are-the-rohingya-refugees/

LUCRF Super Community Program

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