Case study

Amal’s Story*

Amal first came to The ClementJames Centre in September 2018 to improve her English. She has now completed English Functional Skills Entry 3 and started studying for her English Level 1. She shares how her confidence has risen since she started coming to ClementJames.

“I first came to ClementJames in September 2018. Before I came to ClementJames I had no confidence to show up, to meet new people and to speak to people in English. It was very difficult for me. Since then I have done English Functional Skills Entry 3 and now I am studying for Level 1. They helped me with many other services here, like they helped me with my residential visa. I also had problems about caring for my son and they advised me to take part in a course. ClementJames understood everything I had going on in the background.

Before I attended a different college to do my English Entry 2, but I did not have all the benefits that I find here. Here there is more support, it is a familiar environment, the teacher is targeting your needs, she knows your level and where you are weak and what your strengths are. She works very hard with us and you absorb so much in one lesson. Even my private matters I brought here. I prefer to come here because it is different, you feel like in your family actually, like you are in a home. Sometimes, I feel discrimination in some places and here you feel comfortable. You engage with other people and there is respect and equality.

Now I am confident to go forward and speak to people and make mistakes, because you can correct mistakes. I feel my writing has improved a lot as well and I can fill in forms. This has impacted on my son too. He is in nursery and they have many homework activities. Now we can do small projects at home together and take it to school and show the other children. I can also discuss with the teachers at school about how he is doing and how we can make things better. Before, because of my language, I couldn’t go ever to the children’s groups. I was not confident to speak with other parents, but now I feel comfortable.

If I hadn’t come to ClementJames, life would be completely different, because I would be lonely. I now feel I have a relationship with my surroundings. I haven’t got a lot of friends, but when I attend here I feel like I am part of this community. In the class I am getting in touch with all people. Now I am open to other people and I have people I can trust in. Also in the lessons we talk about what is going on outside, e.g. Brexit, and it feels good to be engaged in all these matters.

Before I was not trying new things, but I decided this week to go to the library and ask about audiobooks to improve my listening and reading. This is one of my teacher’s ideas. I have also signed up to volunteer at a hospital to guide people where to go. One of the other students told me about this, I studied Biomedical Science at university in Sudan, so my big goal is to get a good job. I have friends to come to ClementJames. I said if you want to know English and achieve your goals, you should go here, there is no wasting time, they go directly to your goals.”

*name changed