The need for local, culturally appropriate English Classes was illustrated through findings from the 2019 needs-based assessment. 97% of the womxn wanted to participate in conversational English class and many stated that they felt uncomfortable communicating in English because it would not “come out of their mouths”. These classes are imperative because they create a safe space for womxn to practice speaking about fundamental topics and apply every-day situations in conversations with one another. By overcoming the language access barriers that presently exist for these womxn, they will be able to navigate broader, systemic barriers of access to resources and self-advocacy which will ultimately empower them to lead healthy and joyful lives.
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday Bengali and South Asian women in the Norwood, Bronx community meet for Beginners, Intermediate, & Advanced ESL courses (according to their level). ESL courses are so significant because it's crucial to adapting and acclimating to life in the Bronx. It's important for new moms to know what's going on what's happening in their children's schools. It's important for the older women who have been in the community for a long time (and don't know English) to feel empowered. It's critical for employment opportunities, making friendships and meaningful relationships. It's also a crucial part of advocating for yourself in New York.
In our classes, the Bengali women learn how to speak for themselves.