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Women share skills and build community through IRC English class

The IRC in Atlanta’s Vocational English as a Second Language (ESL) class recently demonstrated their wide array of skills with how-to presentations. Students worked on their projects for a month, learning the vocabulary and sentence structures needed to explain how to do things such as crochet, mend torn clothing, make Somali coffee, use henna to dye fingernails and make a traditional Iranian dish called Salad Shirazi. Each student demonstrated their skill while presenting, so the entire group got to learn new skills and taste food and drink from their classmates’ countries.

Student Hawo demonstrates how to mend torn clothing.

Student Hawo demonstrates how to mend torn clothing.

Photo: IRC Atlanta

Throughout the month, IRC volunteers worked with students to help them choose the skill they wanted to demonstrate and learn and practice the language they needed. Our volunteers also helped students understand the task by giving their own presentations on how to cross stitch, play the cello and make origami cranes, teaching students new vocabulary such as needle, bow, string and fold. Students even got a chance to make their own origami cranes!

Student Fatoumata makes henna nail paste for her demonstration.

Student Fatoumata makes henna nail paste for her demonstration.

Photo: IRC Atlanta

The students gave excellent presentations on their unique skills, impressing their teachers with the new language they had mastered. “Part of learning vocational ESL involves talking about skills, which some students struggle to apply to themselves,” explained IRC ESOL and Job Skills Instructor, Wende Crowe. “For example, women who stayed home to raise their children often tell their teachers they have no skills. This project gave them the opportunity to see that they are quite capable, skilled and knowledgeable about things that many other people don’t know how to do, and to learn from each other.”

All students received grades based on their preparation, presentation skills and appropriate vocabulary and sentence structures. The scores helped them to understand their strengths and areas for improvement in speaking, and gave them something to be proud of. “I’m going to take this home and show it to my daughter,” said student Hawo, as she tucked her score sheet in her purse. “She will be so happy for me.”

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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