Upon meeting Uyen and Anh, it is clear they are very hardworking and appreciative
people. As they both work to improve their English, they communicate with basic words and body language. The mother-daugher pair are from Vietnam. Uyen arrived in 2013, Anh arriving one year later. The pair both work at a local clothing shop and are very proud of this achievement.
Uyen and Anh found out about Project Literacy through Uyen’s husband, a Canadian-born individual. Prior to using Project Literacy’s services, Uyen and her husband could not communicate well and she often used paper and pictures to converse with him. Anh also had difficulties integrating into Canadian society because of a lack of confidence and an inability to communicate.
Both Uyen and Anh attend Project Literacy once a week for individual tutoring in order to improve their pronunciation, writing, reading, and listening skills. These skills are and continue to be a very important aspect of their learning, particularly in studying for tests. They also participate in the Monday Conversation Club program where they are able to meet many new people. Anh says she has developed many friendships from this group. Anh speaks very highly of Project Literacy:
“The tutors are so friendly there. We love it! It is a good place to study and improve our English.” – Anh
Project Literacy was instrumental in helping Anh and her mother gain independence in society. Anh explains that because she had difficulties prior to her tutoring sessions, she “felt bad, and ashamed”. She is now able to speak with people, do basic tasks in the community like shopping or talking to her friends on the phone, and overall enriching her life in ways she couldn’t dream possible when she first arrived in Canada.
Uyen also speaks about how her relationship with her husband has improved. Most recently, Uyen was able to pass her driving test because she could understand the driver’s manual. With Project Literacy’s guidance as to study techniques, she was able to read and understand the rules as well as how to apply them.
She is also able to go out alone now. Uyen tells a story about how she once got lost and was unable to ask for directions. She describes the situation as very lonely and representing a difficult time in her life here in Canada.
When asked about future plans, Anh states she would like to stay in Kelowna, obtain her Canadian citizenship and her driver’s license. She would eventually like to go to school to become a fashion designer.
Uyen is also working towards getting her Canadian citizenship and plans to open up her own business utilizing her seamstress skills. Additionally, the two of them are interested in becoming more involved in the community through volunteer work.
Improving English proved to be a very important steppingstone for Anh and Uyen:
“We don’t feel as lonely anymore. I am able to work more, and save money for college. People seem to trust me more now, and the people around me are more open. Learning English has opened doors for the both of us.” – Anh
Project Literacy relies upon volunteers to provide services such as tutoring for learners like Anh and Uyen. It is often one of the first places an individual looking to improve their English or Math skills will be directed. This is due to the organization’s dedication to providing quality education and support.