Briton teaches English rudiments to migrant labourers' children

Briton teaches English rudiments to migrant labourers' children

Realising dreams

Briton teaches English rudiments to migrant labourers' children

 Enrolling children of migrant labourer families in schools and retaining them as part of school education has been a grey area for successive governments.

At a time when the government is still conflicted about the number of such children in the State, a UK-based researcher has begun a teaching initiative in the City, giving flight to children’s career ambitions.

Rebecca Bowers, an anthropology researcher from the London School of Economics, came to Bengaluru last October to study the lives of construction workers. She was gripped by the aspirations of these children who dreamed of careers in engineering, law and medicine. She decided to give a push to their dreams by teaching them English. For the last three months, she has dedicated her time in putting together a team of people to help the children learn English. While the children were initially shy, they have now picked up sentences for simple communication in the language.

For the children of Gulbarga Colony slum in Tilaknagar, where the initiative has taken shape, this was a significant help that came their way. C Chitravathi, co-ordinator of a City-based non-governmental organisation APSA, told Deccan Herald, “The children were keen on sharpening their skills in English and they had been asking for a mentor. They are going to the local government school but they are not exposed to communication in English. It is heartening to see them pick up communication skills in the language now.”

APSA has extensively worked with this community through self-help groups. While children tend to lose concentration often, this language class initiative has been successful in holding their attention. “It is activity-based and the children look forward for it,” she added.

The classes began about three months ago and the children have made much progress. “They mostly speak in Tamil, Kannada and Telugu and initially they were scared to say even a few words. Now, they can communicate sentences,” Bowers said, giving a description of the initiative.

The initiative began as a six-month pilot. Bowers is likely to head back home by May 2016 and she is determined to make it work in her absence. “I want to get an established group of people who can keep it going,” she said. In a short span, the initiative has seen a lot of expats based in Bengaluru come together, joined by several other volunteers from the City. However, several of them have moved on and the team is lacking volunteers at the moment. Bowers and her team are looking forward for more people to join them for the cause. She could be reached at

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