Home Learning Project
The Home Learning Project in London provides volunteer English language (ESOL) teachers and learning mentors who give home-based one-to-one English language tuition and support to refugees who are unable to leave their homes, often due to mental health issues arising from trauma experienced in their countries of origin. The project, which is currently funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aims to facilitate independent living, access to classroom learning and community involvement, as well as combat isolation, loneliness and exclusion.
An independently commissioned report into the project in 2012 has praised its effectiveness and highlighted the positive impact it has on the lives of the refugees who receive language classes.
Rosie Ward, project co-ordinator for the Home Learning Project, explains the need for the service, the only one providing English language tuition at home to refugees across London:
“The extent of isolation experienced by refugees is unbelievable. Some of them have had little or no contact with their local community for several years and many are suffering with post traumatic stress disorder and a sense of displacement. The Home Learning Project, however, teaches them the language skills they need to start to function within the community, improves their confidence and knowledge of the local area and gives them hope.”
The project involves volunteer tutors visiting learners’ homes once a week for six months. Training is also provided if the learners want to become learning mentors themselves and provide peer support to other learners, such as practising their new language skills, helping them access community activities, or joining the library – things which may seem simple but, if you’ve been isolated at home for some time, can appear to be huge barriers.
One learner tells us how he has benefitted:
“We feel hopeless because of lack of English. It’s a really hard feeling but with this kind of organisation I feel much stronger. I can build a life.”
Excerpt from independent analysis:
“All learners who took part in the evaluation felt their lives had changed, and gave very individual reasons: from understanding train timetables to being able to write their name. This kind of individual success would have been difficult to achieve in a classroom setting; and some of these changes were actually in learners’ attitudes to classroom learning itself.”
The project recently expanded with funding from Big Lottery. For more information about the project, its success and its future, please contact Rosemary Ward on 020 3535 5368.