Nasreen has been improving her English and building her skills and confidence through Talk English at Levenshulme Inspire, a dynamic community centre in Manchester. She attends a weekly Talk English Course, as well as the Talk English CafÃ© at the centre, where she receives regular support from Julie, a volunteer Talk English Friend. Nasreen has […]
Nasreen has been improving her English and building her skills and confidence through Talk English at Levenshulme Inspire, a dynamic community centre in Manchester. She attends a weekly Talk English Course, as well as the Talk English CafÃ© at the centre, where she receives regular support from Julie, a volunteer Talk English Friend. Nasreen has also joined in with several Talk English Activities and has recently started volunteering in the Inspire CafÃ© every Friday after her class.
Settling in the UK
Nasreen came to live in the UK in 1976, at the age of 16. Although she attended primary school in Pakistan, at the time her father did not want her to continue with her education, either in Pakistan or in the UK.
Taking the first step
Now a mother of four grown-up children, Nasreen has had to rely on her children to help her to communicate with the doctor, the neighbours and at various appointments. As her children grew up, she felt that they had other commitments with their own work, studies and families and far less time to be around to help her with such matters, so Nasreen started learning English in order to be more independent in her everyday life.
On the first day of the course, Nasreen felt very shy and she cried as she was really worried. Her teacher put her at ease and said: I can understand everything you say, dont worry. She also kept telling her that her English was getting better every week, which built her confidence and motivated her to keep attending.
Gaining skills, experience and friends
Through her involvement in Talk English, Nasreen feels a lot more confident to do things for herself and she often talks to her elderly neighbour in English. As well as improving her spoken English, Nasreen has also been learning how to read and write in English. Although she is finding it really hard, she is now more able to read and understand bank statements and letters. She said that her son is being very careful about where he leaves letters addressed to him, as he knows that his mum can read now! With the help of the course and her tutors she has also learned to fill in basic information about herself accurately.
Nasreen has also taken part in several Talk English Activities, including a “Walk and Talk activity through which she explored the local area with other learners, supported by Talk English volunteers. She said that she could now name different places and types of buildings and she will not forget these words. Nasreen has since registered with her local library and has borrowed some recipe books. She has recently baked a flapjack after reading the recipe in English with the help of her daughter. Nasreen has also thoroughly enjoyed a crochet session during which the group chatted in English while crocheting.
Nasreen has recently started volunteering in the cafÃ© at the centre, serving customers and clearing tables, which provides her with lots of opportunities to speak in English. Volunteering has enabled Nasreen to meet new people from various backgrounds who live in the same community and develop new skills. She is finding it a lot easier and more enjoyable to communicate in English and she receives a lot of guidance and encouragement from the staff at Inspire and the supervisor in the cafÃ©, as well as the customers.
Looking to the future
Nasreen wants to continue learning as she says that learning “keeps my mind fresh. She hopes that one day shell be able to start her own catering business as she is a good cook, so she needs to continue improving her reading and writing so that she can do further studies.
Nasreens father, who is now 95 years old, feels really proud of his daughter and is also encouraging Nasreen to learn how to drive.