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Helping migrants overcome the language barrier.

The ability to communicate in our day-to-day lives is something that most of us take for granted.

So imagine not only having to leave your home country under traumatic circumstances, but being unable to speak the language of the new country you’ve arrived in. This is the stark reality facing Auckland’s refugee and migrant community.

English Language Partners is helping this community overcome the language barrier through free English lessons. These classes offer much more than just being able to communicate – they also offer support, friendship, and the skills to adjust to New Zealand culture and live an everyday Kiwi life.

While a range of ages and ethnicities regularly sign up for classes, English Language Partners noticed an increasing number of students from Myanmar – with many of these students being pre literate and having no English skills.

Recognising a community need, they decided to apply for funding from Grassroots Giving Programme to cover the cost of a bilingual assistant from Myanmar. Jean Harding, of English Language Partners, believes that the bilingual assistants are invaluable in the classes’ early stages; “not only do the students have to learn new words, but many have to learn a whole new alphabet as well.”

The successful grant application now means that the Myanmar language assistant Mary is able to support her students three days a week, and make that transition to New Zealand life a little bit easier.

Watch NZH Focus