This is the story of one the ladies who attend our City Bridge Trust funded class for women over 60.

The Renewal Programmes Training & Education

NT arrived in the UK five years ago as an Asylum Seeker and now has full Refugee status.

She is 61 and has 7 children, 2 of whom are still living with her. NT told us that she had never been to school in her country of origin and is illiterate in her first language. She was brought to the ESOL project, in September 2016 by one of her children who was insistent that she join: she was extremely reluctant.

NT had never even held a pen before so was placed in the absolute beginners’ class where the teacher did several lessons on “tracing the shapes and letters”. NT has attended almost every class and is now able to write her name, address and telephone number. At the start of the project, she was able to understand and reply to a few personal questions but was reluctant to speak.

Now she is able to hold basic conversations with others in her class. The volunteers have told me that she is a very popular member of the Friday class as she has a great sense of humour which “appeared” as the year progressed! She says she now has the confidence to tell people that she has never been to school in Afghanistan. NT said that before she came to the project, she had felt embarrassed by her lack of literacy and had tried to conceal it, even from her children. She now practices her reading and writing at home and is starting to try to read simple books with her grandchildren.

NT said that she felt closer to her grandchildren and felt that she could become more involved in their lives. She has made new friends within the class and now has the confidence to start speaking with her neighbour who has lived next door for 3 years. NT loves the fact that the class is for women only, especially as they are all in the same position as her. She told us that it made her feel much better to know that she wasn’t the only person who was struggling with literacy and that coming to the class had changed her life completely.