Intermediate English class writing exercise

Every Monday, around 100 refugee and asylum-seeking women come together at our drop-in centre at London to develop their skills in our English classes and to support one another.

We provide English classes at five different levels in order to help women to become more confident in conversations and with reading and writing. Arriving in a new country can be confusing, intimidating and isolating without language skills. We provide a space in which women from 32 different countries around the world can learn together and build new friendships with English as a common language.

The women in our Intermediate English class, taught by our brilliant volunteer Helen Brown, are currently developing their writing skills. This term we will be sharing their work in a series of short blogs.

This week, the women have been writing about how they would celebrate special occasions in their home countries:

Angele, Democratic Republic of Congo

In my country, on 8th March we celebrate International Women’s Day. On that day, women wear African clothes and there are a lot of organisations which organise meetings, conferences talking about emancipation and the role or importance of women in society, the church, the house etc

Diakiese, Democratic Republic of Congo

A Birthday Party

  1. Inviting people who you like
  2. Cooking for them and buying drinks
  3. Wearing new clothes, new shoes, be pretty…
  4. Eating, dancing and celebrating together
  5. Giving presents

Joy, Nigeria

  1. Mother’s Day: we give presents to our mothers and play music
  2. New Year’s Day: the Igbos cook special meals, play music and go out with friends to watch native dances
  3. Every 1st October, Nigeria celebrates Independence Day.
  4. Traditional marriage: The man will come to his in-law’s house to pay the bride price for his wife

Abi, Nigeria

In Nigeria, on wedding days, both families are excited and happy.

  1. In the morning, all invited guests and families attend the solemnisation [marriage ceremony]
  2. After the solemnisation, the couple have a photo session with all present
  3. A reception is being organised to entertain all the guests
  4. The couple will thereafter go for their honeymoon at their chosen resort


Photo by Shyamantha Asokan