Story and photo by Lucy Kitto
Zeinab moved to England nine years ago. A mum of six children, she has only been able to attend English classes on and off over that time. Back in her home country, Somalia, the war prevented her from attending school, which you would think would make it even more difficult to learn English.
However, Zeinab has made amazing progress. Now her children are older she goes to ESOL classes but she also likes to come to the less formal English conversational classes at Abbeyfield.
“I like learning in a more relaxed way and it gives me time to practice what I’ve been learning in my ESOL class.”
The conversation classes at Abbeyfield are free, friendly and informal and are for women only. You can start coming any week. No need to wait for the beginning of term. They run during school terms only from 9.30 to 11 am.
“I’m leaning so that I can help my children at school, be part of my community and maybe get a job in the future. It helps me to make friends too. I love learning!”
Session coordinator Amanda brings resources and plans sessions based on the interests of the learners. Health, how to describe symptoms, talk to doctors, make appointments. How to sort out household problems, pay bills and deal with the council are just some of the areas covered. Sessions are planned around what learners want to learn.