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TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE TO REFUGEES IN FOSTERING INTEGRATION

KINTSUGI empowers refugees through education, Sociocultural events and entrepreneurship to promote resilience,sustainability and integration

Photo of Jean Pierre Ngirabahire

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Since KINTSUGI established English Center in 2017, 300 refugees have been acquiring this language in order to communicate and interact with the locals. The reason why English was selected over other official languages it’s because most nationalities (Refugees Communities) represented originally lack this official language as a tool of communication, hence unable to interact and make a living. In Kenya, though Kiswahili is a is common language, it’s not spoken so often because tribal languages dominate since people seem to be leading life in clusters especially in their settlements. Kenya is civilized country, English is spoken widely even on the streets by common population. Furthermore, the majority of current generations particularly in Nairobi don’t know their mother tongue neither Kiswahili or they don’t want to identify themselves with their tribe to avoid being tribalism victims. Therefore getting a job, attending school, interviews need English language. Most of Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Southern Sudan, etc. all can’t communicate in English, even in Kiswahili. This situation make their life so difficult. In organizations where they seek services, they are helped by interpreters; however in their outside life their interactions with members of the host community is close to impossible.Empowering refugees with host community languages will lead to full integration, interactions, employability, peace and development for both refugees and host community members. There will be intermarriages, movements, trade, knowledge and experience transfer and above all sustainability.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This idea targets members of more than 70,000 refugees living in Nairobi (UNHCR figures). The target number of students is 1,000 every year, majority being youth from areas covered by KINTSUGI ( Kasarani, Kayole, Umoja, Eastleigh, Kitengela and Kawangware) which are highly populated with refugees who can’t communicate in host community languages. Most of these refugees are also not educated, or dropped out due to war, most of them didn’t go to school but they’re also culturally bound.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

English knowledge will lead to integration, interaction, peace and sustainable development for both refugees and host community members. This will increase confidence among refugees and will create opportunities for them. It will also be an open tool for them to be considered productive for resettlement in 3rd countries which most of them now require that refugees have English knowledge before they’re resettled especially USA and Australia. It’s an advantage because they easily adapt to life.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The idea goes beyond basic needs because there can not be and dignity without communication. The knowledge of a luggage creates self confidence, enables human interaction for different purposes mainly beneficial, therefore, it creates a sense of dignity, Joy and hope since refugees feel part of the community rather than isolated

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The difference will be clear: after the required sessions, refugees are ready to write, listen and speak. They will increase their confidence, increased relationships,, do business with host community members, and will be able to represent lead others in their community whenever they’re and they will be able to advocate and raise awareness about their issues.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The inspiration behind this idea is painful experiences refugees go through due to lack of language knowledge.. Starting with my personal experience. I have been a refugee, when I arrived in Kenya, I went for interview at UNHCR for asylum, I was told I will do it in English. I don’t know what I said. Then I was rejected. I have seen refugees stuck, stranded because they can’t communicate. I have seen refugees being abused assorted and robbed and even deported because they cant express themselves.)

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

The target community is comprised of refugees from Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, etc. These groups have different cultural backgrounds and socialization. As well as stratification. This idea targets men, women,youth and children who dropped out of school due to financial inability to pay for tuition fees.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

There’s no doubt that this idea empowers community strength and assets because it give the power to talk and write and speak, People become aware of their rights as express themselves and raise awareness about their conditions.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

We work in partnership with MindLeaps, a not-for-profit organization staffed by dance instructors, educators, social workers, counselors and administrators, all dedicated to building a bridge to education and positive livelihoods through dance. We engage kids in fun dance classes that are part of a carefully crafted curriculum to develop the key cognitive and social-emotional skills vital to success in school and work.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

KINTSUGI

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

KINTSUGI, (Golden Joinery) is a traditional Japanese philosophical art that uses liquid such golden, Silver glue, or platinum lacquer to mend cracks of broken objects and bring them together to suggest that broken objects should not be thrown away but can be repaired and become more beautiful and of greater value. . KINTSUGI is a powerful metaphor of inspiration, strength, resilience and empowerment. KINTSUGI is a refugee CBO based in Nairobi, Kenya. It serves urban refugees from Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia and Southern Sudan,etc. Its Services focus on Sociocultural and sports events to foster integration of refugees into host community and promote peaceful coexistence. Our main annual event is AFRICAN REFUGEE PEACE MARATHON under the Theme « RUN A MILE IN A REFUGEE SHOES ». We engage kids in fun dance classes that are part of a carefully crafted curriculum to develop the key cognitive and social-emotional skills vital to success in school and work.

Website URL:

Later (under renovation)

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

KENYA

Organization Headquarters: City / State

NAIROBI

34 comments

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Photo of Beiwen Yu
Team

Hi Jean,
I strongly agree with you. I am also a non-native English speaker. When I was learning English, I read a sentence "English is the bridge between you and the world", English language is very important for everyone in this society, especially refugees who move to english-speaking contries for a stable life. Only when they can express their thoughts clearly can they speak out about their experiences and seek social help or learn skills to support their lives.

What worries me is the percentage of teachers who speak the refugees' mother tongue. Are there any other teachers from other countries rather than Kenya? How will the organization solve the problem of food, clothing, shelter and transportation for teachers?

Best,
Beiwen

Photo of Jean Pierre Ngirabahire
Team

Hallo You!
Thank you for commending the idea. We have said that a language is the foundation for human achievement and social living. Without it, as you mentioned not only refugees but also others will face challenges of adaptation to whatever environment and overcome challenges of life.

On the percentage of Teachers who speak mother tongue, we have a number of refugees who have schooled in Kenyan system and therefore can teach their fellow refugees. The problem is that sometimes they can’t teach if they’re not paid because they want to make al living.

Interestingly, we also have Kenyan teachers who travelled across the region and learnt the mother tongue! They can efficiently communicate with refugees in their mother tongue.
About incentives for teachers, the organization invites refugees to make a contribution off One dollar($1) every month. We are able to give at least $100 to a teacher. However most of Service are free because KINTSUGI is still looking for funding.
Currently we have 4 English classes of around 50 students each. We also teach them Kiswahili and Kenyan culture as part of fostering their full peaceful integration into the host community

Photo of Jean Pierre Ngirabahire
Team

Hallo You!
Thank you for commending the idea. We have said that a language is the foundation for human achievement and social living. Without it, as you mentioned not only refugees but also others will face challenges of adaptation to whatever environment and overcome challenges of life.

On the percentage of Teachers who speak mother tongue, we have a number of refugees who have schooled in Kenyan system and therefore can teach their fellow refugees. The problem is that sometimes they can’t teach if they’re not paid because they want to make al living.

Interestingly, we also have Kenyan teachers who travelled across the region and learnt the mother tongue! They can efficiently communicate with refugees in their mother tongue.
About incentives for teachers, the organization invites refugees to make a contribution off One dollar($1) every month. We are able to give at least $100 to a teacher. However most of Service are free because KINTSUGI is still looking for funding.
Currently we have 4 English classes of around 50 students each. We also teach them Kiswahili and Kenyan culture as part of fostering their full peaceful integration into the host community

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