Teaching Refugees & Making Friends

April 8, 2016

Kendra- Hillside Intern

Over the past few weeks, some of us interns have been tutoring refugees in Richmond in English through an organization called Church World Service. We weren’t sure at first how these lessons would go, but I have been blown away by the fruits of our time with them.

Our class has 4-5 women from Afghanistan, depending on the day. They are a true joy to work with. We can tell that they practice with each other when we aren’t around and after these past few weeks, their English has improved immensely. When we started out with them, we would say things in English and have our students repeat after us. But we could tell they weren’t comprehending what our words really meant. Now they can speak with understanding and they even initiate conversation with us when we’re in between sessions at their lessons.

The other day we had a particularly good lesson with our students. One of their husbands had the day off from work and he joined his wife for our class. He was able to learn more English and practice with us.

When we got home that evening, we got a text message from his son thanking us for the work we are doing for their family in helping them to learn English and adapt to life here. He ended his message with “We are so lucky to have friends like you guys.” 

It’s so encouraging to see these women and their families work hard and exceed our expectations. Our time with them has become much more than just ESL classes. We have become good friends through these lessons. Some of our students have even invited us to meals and cooked dinner for us. I am grateful to have these precious women and their families as my friends and am so thankful to play a small role in helping them to reestablish their lives here in Richmond as our neighbors.

Interested in joining us on our next #LoveYourCityProject adventure? Tell us!

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