A report from Penny Keens

Would you be interested? Revd Liz Jackson invited volunteers to a Zoom meeting on 9 September. Liz explained that people arriving from Hong Kong on special visas have been means tested and
are able to support themselves for six months, so the sort of assistance required by refugees from
Afghanistan – or indeed arriving in small boats from Europe – shelter, food and clothing is not needed.

Many people from Hong Kong had English lessons at school but now need to be able to live and work in
English. There is a programme of Zoom lessons for beginners, improvers and advanced everyday English,
and conversation classes. There is also employment support on writing a CV, interviews and so on.

After a lesson on screen sharing and a brief run through teaching English as a second language, I
embarked on my first experience. There were ten students, the tutor and two volunteers, who each
had three students in their ‘chat rooms’. Mine were a bus driver who is longing to drive a bus over here,
but has very hesitant English-language skills, a single parent who used to work in import/export in China
and I am sure will easily find a job here when she is more articulate, and someone who has not worked
since having her children, but is a charming woman with great potential. Unfortunately, none live locally,
so we shall not be welcoming them at Christ the Cornerstone, but I am very pleased to be able to offer
this assistance and found the lessons well thought through.

If you would be interested in helping with refugees’ language skills you may like to go to the link ESOL
language skills | Language Learning Link (lllinks.org
) and/or contact liz.jackson@oxford.anglican.org.