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£590raised of £1,000 target by 26 supporters

Weʼre raising £1,000 to fund a befriending project to help refugees and asylum seekers in Hull to make new friends, practise English and learn about Hull.

Hull, UK
17 days to go

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Friends for English

Imagine being a refugee or an asylum seeker, ending up in a city you had never even heard of. Probably not knowing your way around, or how things work. Probably not knowing anybody or being able to speak or understand much English.

We believe that social integration begins with language learning and that language learning begins with social integration.

Twice a week around 60 volunteer befreinders and learners meet in the heart of the community. Although participants are from very different backgrounds, the common goal of learning English brings people together harmoniously.

We have tailor-made materials on a weekly theme (such as education in UK, taking a bus, going to the dentist) and support from the coordinator. Learners are also free to choose to learn what they want, how they want. Several learners have never been in a classroom before, due to poverty, war or discrimination in their homeland. They are very proud to have become functionally literate, having worked hard with their Primary School teacher befriender.

Here is what some members of our community have to say about Friends for English:

...a great idea which is really well executed. The English skills development is valuable enough in its own right but I was really impressed by the supportive atmosphere and the evident enjoyment people were getting from the sessions I attended. I will definitely be bringing more people to join. Mick Mather, Project Keyworker-BBO, Hull City Council

…an invaluable part of the ESOL landscape in Hull….a unique project which not only bridges a gap in learning English for many new arrivals to Hull, but it also bridges a real gap in understanding between individuals and commununities through the concept of befriending. Dr Martin Nickson, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Education, Hull University

‘Thank you for having us, it was great! I told my colleagues about it and will get the students who came to encourage the others as I know they really enjoyed it. Martha Smith, Hull College ESOL tutor

…a terrific job of putting together lots of information …and holding everything together even when inundated with learners! ‘

It is nice to be with everyone. Before I stayed at home’.

This is my first time to ever go to school and I am happy to read and write’

Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful project. I am enjoying using my teaching skills again.

Invisible Dust recently invited us to the launch of their Sewerby Cookbook, which our befrienders and learners contributed to:

We are currently making a Friends for English library to encourage learners to practise English at home. The library will also have resources about teaching and about the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, for befrienders to borrow.

Thank you for your interest in our project.

Donations will help refugees and asylum seekers to have a better start to their new lives in Hull.

To find out how to participate in our project

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Karen van Diesen

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    7 months ago

    Karen van Diesen started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 7/4/2018 10:18 AM



    • Michael Mather

      Michael Mather

      Jul 4, 2018

      best of luck Karen. The work you do is a tremendous support to the clients I work with.


    • Martin Nickson

      Martin Nickson

      Jun 11, 2018

      Sorry its a bit late


    • Cath Jenkins

      Cath Jenkins

      Jun 9, 2018

      Good luck. Sorry it’s taken me so long to support you.




      Jun 4, 2018

      £15 of this to cover our non-appearance at Kardomah 24!


    • Aparna Rao

      Aparna Rao

      Jun 3, 2018

      You are doing a great job.....keep going!!!


    • helen marshall

      helen marshall

      May 18, 2018

      Good luck with fundraising. Im proud of you. Your Sister xxx


    • Anna Davis

      Anna Davis

      May 10, 2018


    Karen van Diesen

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    About the fundraiser
    Karen van Diesen

    Karen van Diesen

    Hull, UK

    Karen van Diesen is the Director of Welcome to English CIC. She has worked in the field of adult education in developing countries around the world as well as with refugees and asylum seekers in Hull.

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