Vera Group ESOL success - Inesa's story
About the Vera Group
The Vera Group brings together women from different European countries, empowering them to live full and meaningful lives; promoting women's self-esteem, positivity and self-confidence and offering non-judgmental support, advocacy and empowerment.
They want each woman to recognise the amazing ability, courage, strength and potential she has, and to feel empowered to reach their fullest potential and shape their own destiny.
Their motto is: “We are AMAZING, we are COURAGEOUS, we are UNIQUE. We are WOMEN of Europe travelling towards success.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all ESOL provision has taken place online. This has been successful, offering convenience for learners to participate in the comfort of their own homes.
The Vera Group recently delivered online ESOL sessions for women and have shared two success stories with us. Below is Inesa's story.
Around 10 years ago, Inesa moved to England with her husband from Latvia. When she first arrived here, Inesa barely had any knowledge of English, apart from very simple phrases. Because of this, she never really made any friends that were English speakers and mostly communicated with people who spoke Latvian or Russian. Because of this, her knowledge of the language did not improve much over the years and having conversations with people who were fluent in English was stressful for her. Inesa would get anxious when doing things, like attending parents evening at her daughter’s school, writing letters and emails when necessary. She felt that this is a huge barrier for their social life but also for her personal development, so she was very happy to find out about ESOL courses that the Vera Group was organising.
Considering challenging circumstances (lockdown and COVID restrictions), the sessions were delivered online, which was a huge benefit for Inesa as she did not have to arrange childcare provision while she was studying (she could take part in the sessions and at the same time observe her daughter playing). She also enjoyed the fact that lessons were very diverse and engaging, and consisted of different tasks that helped her to develop a better understanding of English. Considering that during the sessions combined both theory and practical tasks, Inesa had the opportunity to work in a group and build her confidence when speaking in English to others. Inesa is now more comfortable when picking up phone calls, writing letters and generally having a conversation. After completing 24 sessions, Inesa is now confident when speaking, reading and writing. She mentioned her work colleagues noticed that her English improved significantly in the last 3 months.
Inesa also shared that this project gave her the opportunity to meet new friends and feel more positive about her future. Now, Inesa is thinking to continue her studies at Walsall College and achieve a qualification.
Inesa is very happy that she can now help her daughter with homework and be part of other school-related activities. She is able to have a chat with mums when waiting to collect children from school; she is not anxious when attending parents evenings and is able to ask about her daughter’s progress. Overall her stress levels have decreased significantly from the moment she started to attend ESOL sessions.
Here is what Inesa said about the lessons:
“I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to attend these lessons as they gave me a chance to improve my English. Not only was I able to learn all about grammar and vocabulary, but I could also practice having conversations with other people in the lesson to improve my confidence. I now feel a lot better when speaking to people in English and I can definitely say my understanding of the language has massively improved. I would love to keep learning more and I am extremely grateful I got the chance to attend these lessons.”
If you would like to find out more about ESOL classes and how to join, visit www.walsallforall.co.uk/esol or contact the ESOL Intelligence Unit:
Harjinder Lal (ESOL Coordinator) - Harjinder.Lal@walsall.gov.uk
Languages spoken: English, Hindi and Punjabi
Zishaan Mohammed (ESOL Project Officer) - Zishaan.Mohammed@walsall.gov.uk
Languages spoken: English
Natalia Balan (ESOL Project Officer) - Natalia.Balan@walsall.gov.uk
Languages spoken: English, Romanian and Russian