Friday, January 27, 2012

Moving to Madison

Most refugees resettled in Nashville are placed in the southern part of the city, in apartment complexes along Nolensville Road--a long stretch known for its diversity of shops, cuisine, and residents. Although schools and hospitals in that area are used to dealing with the cultural and language barriers that come with working with diverse populations, they have capacity limits that are reaching a tipping point, and resettlement centers are realizing the need to place refugees in other neighborhoods so as to lessen the concentration of newcomers in South Nashville.

As the only adult English speaker in the household, he did the interpreting for us. He walks 30 minutes to and from English class every Saturday.

A copy of the ESL needs and barriers survey.
Madison, TN, just east of Nashville city limits, is becoming a new destination for refugees in Nashville. Although far from the convenience and community of Nolensville Road, refugee families in Madison can live affordably in a quiet and laid-back environment.

Due to the limited availability of ESL classes in Madison, ESL to Go has identified an apartment complex where many refugees have already been resettled as one of our chosen sites to bring our mobile classroom.

On Wednesday, we drove out to Madison to meet a newly resettled Somali family. They greeted us with warmth, hospitality and a readiness to share their life stories.

Many families similar to this one will continue to fill the vacant apartments at the complex where this family lives. We hope to greet them, as they greet us, with warmth, hospitality, and an abundance of knowledge to share.  
A 28-year-old mother of four, pictured with her youngest daughter,
who is unable to attend ESL classes due to a lack of transportation and childcare. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We want it!

This is a blog about two women, a supportive community, and many newcomers anxious to learn English, who are on a mission to bring ESL classes to refugees in Nashville. Please follow along on our journey as we gather the resources to fund this initiative, meet new and excited potential students, and begin to bring ESL classes to the doorsteps of individuals who are READY and EXCITED to learn the English language.