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ESOL Volunteer

I grew up in Zimbabwe and circumstances with corruption and civil war soon made things very difficult and frightening to stay. Since leaving Zimbabwe I have moved around a few countries but have always been had a sense of feeling that I am a stranger. It is this feeling of not belonging that perhaps draws me to being empathic to other people who are displaced. I understand how so many familiar things about ‘home’ is missed and as time goes on missed even more greatly. It leaves a hole that cannot really be filled.

In 2019 I went to teach at Grace International School in Bangladesh. It was a fantastic few years but really brought home to me the frustrations of not being understood and at a continual disadvantage of not being able to fully engage in friendships or be independent. I became very reliant on the kindness of bilingual people to speak for me. I found the Bangladeshi people were very accepting of me and I believe this kindness and helpfulness was also instrumental in prompting me think about what I wanted to do on my return to UK.

When I returned from Bangladesh, I enrolled and completed an online TEFL course with the intention of teaching English to foreign speakers. I played around with several ideas but eventually returned to my genuine heart of wanting to work with refugees. I dug around the internet and kept coming up with the name PARCA and so I applied to become a voluntary Esol teacher. I am so happy that I am teaching at this centre and weirdly enough, I actually feel whole being involved at PARCA.

Cheryl Bull

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