SAVTE (Sheffield Association for the Voluntary Teaching of English) recruits and trains volunteers to teach English. They have been delivering this service city-wide for over 30 years. The majority of the students are women and people with disabilities. Many have no experience of formal education and have very little confidence.
Anwar came to the UK from Somalia as a refugee 12 years ago and now lives in Burngreave.
“I want to learn English to be able to live here, I face real difficulties when I go out for shopping and visiting the GP. I enrolled in SAVTE and they put me on the waiting list and then in May 2007 they sent John to teach me.”
John used to be a teacher and taught in schools for 27 years in England and Kenya. He now teaches two adults on a voluntary basis through SAVTE.
“You don’t have to be a teacher,“I design the lessons myself. At SAVTE they have a resources library, so I can borrow materials, books, pictures and things like that. Every student is different so what I am trying to teach depends on the student.”
John came to England with his parents when he was 10. They were refugees from Hungary. He now lives in Burngreave and is learning Somali because he knows a lot of Somali people.
“For me, this is a way of carrying out my faith – making people from other countries welcome and to work for peace between different communities.”
Fadumo Gulied has lived in the UK since 2004 with her husband and four children. She started learning at home with Francesca Pedmore in April 2007.
“It’s important for me to learn English so I can do things without my husband, like go to the GP, or help the children. I can’t do anything until I learn English, then I can learn whatever I want and get a job and also apply for nationality.”
Her teacher Francesca works full-time with a young people’s project in Chesterfield. She recently passed level 3 OCN in voluntary teaching with SAVTE.
“I use picture cards, images and we name things. Although it’s difficult, learning in English is the best way, as you can’t relyon your mother tongue.”
Francesca has lived in a foreign country so she understands what it’s like not to be able to communicate.
“The recent reduction in English classes will have a really bad impact – it’s bad for integration. Learning English is really important to help us live together.”
Her advice to other people thinking of helping SAVTE was:
“Go for it! It’s a good experience, you’ll get a lot out of it.”
Project Manager for SAVTE, Sara Saxon, told the Messenger:
“We equip people with the English language skills they need for everyday
life. Our trained volunteers are the backbone of the organisation, they make a huge contribution to learners’ lives by giving them the skills to communicate their most basic needs.”
If you’d like to volunteer to teach English, or you need support in learning English at home, please contact SAVTE on 241 2765.