August 23rd, 0203 | Aawaz Admin
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Training and Advice project was designed to work with the women from minority communities.
This is essential for effective integration, community cohesion and racial harmony.
Many women have lived in Britain for decades but have never been able to or have been prevented from learning to read, write and speak in English, they are dependant on family members, friends and other people to speak for them. There are many instances when women’s’ needs, wishes and concerns are not raised or are in accurately represented leading to some drastic and distressing situations.
Training and Advice Project has helped 2518 women to learn to communicate in English. For many of the project participants it has been a challenging time, to try and cope with learning to speak, read and write in English. Many of the participants are illiterate in their own language so learning a totally new language is quite a task.
Another important aspect of the project was to offer advice, information, guidance and signposting. The Training and Advice Project assisted 3932 people with information and advice.
We in AAWAZ are pleased that Training & Advice project has made a real difference in the past five years to the lives of the beneficiaries and their families in terms of increased social mobility. It has been a quite heart warming experience to see that people at grassroots level have benefited from this project. The difference can be seen in women being confident enough and willing to play a proactive role in many aspects of their lives.
Prior to the resources for our Training & Advice Project, AAWAZ had already identified the need for the work with women to help improve their and their families’ lives but there were only shoestring resources available, so it was difficult for the charity.
It was an extremely exciting time for AAWAZ when in June 2008 Big Lottery approved the request for funding to run a Training & Advice Project. This was also a challenging time for AAWAZ to take on board Members of Trustees, Executives and volunteers to put a comprehensive project work programme together.
Over the five years the project has worked with families to help them see the benefit of allowing their women folk to come and learn English and learn about the norms, values and culture of British society, a society that they have chosen to be part of.
The Training and Advice Project has created a meaningful way of engaging and learning for the beneficiaries. The project developed work sheets, work books and other learning materials to help meet the beneficiaries’ level of need. Each year new and more relevant themes and topics taking into account local and national issues were considered.
The Training and Advice project offered a general menu of courses, including the following:
• Pre Beginners courses for English reading, writing and speaking
• English language for the complete Beginners
• English language Reading for beginners and step 1
• English language Writing for beginners and step 1
• Simple spoken English for beginners and step 1
• English lifestyle and culture sessions to help with citizenship
• Improving your English through conversation and role play
• Practise conversational English
• English for employment & confidence building
• Why Work?
• What is Volunteering?
• Be Confident!!
• IT for complete beginners
• Online IT
• Learning English through activities such as art, carft, sewing,baking
• Other Information and Awareness sessions
• Value yourself
• Parents’ group
• Aunty’s discussions
• Health and wellbeing and lifestyle tips and techniques sessions
• News Focus discussions
• Introduction to your life in Britain
• Get to know your library
• My town my neighbourhood
• Your Environment
• Be Safe
In addition the project introduced other topical issues such as the royal wedding, the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Olympics, local and national elections to name a few. Working with other agencies such as Police, Fire Service, Health, County Council, local Borough Council, Education Services, Adult Colleges, Universities, and Schools to involve them in making the learning more meaningful for the beneficiaries.
From the outset the project realised that learning can take place in many settings including through visiting other places and organisations. It was also evident that many of the learners had not stepped outside their home town; they did not have a culture of taking their children out places of education and interest, or understand the importance of family outings. In many families the women were not allowed to go out on their own without a chaperone or for recreation.
The Training and Advice Project introduced planned educational outings and day trips for mothers and families as part of their programme of learning, for example the trip to the museum was integrated into the theme of that week and there were discussions and learning materials created to support the visit and to further enhance the learning.
The project recruited volunteers, these were women who had some confidence already and understood the importance of helping others. Some of the project beneficiaries also became volunteers , this was pleasing to see that women had made sufficient progress and felt able to take on a new role. Two of the beneficiaries were members of the project steering group, they had the opportunity to help to steer the project from the very top.
AAWAZ Executive Committee believe that the project is a success because of the true partnership between Big Lottery funding and AAWAZ’s unique model of delivery that has made a difference to the beneficiaries’ lives through improving their life chances. The Project manager and the steering group members have established a strong working relationship with the local authority, meeting regularly with the Chief Officers and local Councillors.
Although the project Training & Advice has made a great impact, AAWAZ is concerned for the future, as the charity is still seeing large number of women from South Asian and Polish heritage who are on a waiting list, in need of support, development and capacity building.
Meetings are being held with certain key people to share concerns and highlight issues but unfortunately because of the financial climate at the present time everyone is faced with financial crisis and there has not been any positive response to request for resources in order to continue this much-needed work of Training & Advice.
• 243 Home visits made to meet beneficiaries and family members.
• 2518 beneficiaries engaged with the project during the five years
• 2273 South Asian women benefited from the project
• 245 Eastern European women benefited from the project
• 313 Beneficiaries demonstrated they can communicate in English
• 170 Beneficiaries stated they have interest in lifelong learning
• 56 Beneficiaries joined the library
• 45 Educational day trips organised
• 59 Community Cohesion events organised.
• 49 Project awareness events organised
• 419 Beneficiaries are better able to access mainstream services
• 3932 People assisted through information & advice
• 75 Agencies / VSOs used interpretation & translation service
• 148 Outreach sessions undertaken
• 11 Visits to Colleges & Universities
• 7600 Leaflets distributed to publicise the project
• 63 Beneficiaries assisted to make job applications
• 19 Beneficiaries succeeded in securing paid work
• 27 Women who became volunteers
• 66 Beneficiaries attended IT Classes.
• 36 Presentations made to LAs / VSOs / partners
• 47 Community events/open days attended
• 1356 Beneficiaries stated they have improved their self-confidence
• 127 Meetings with community elders and key people to enlist their support