Teaching children through stories and laughter
Language Linkers is a mother-daughter founded charity that offers online language lessons, educational support, and conversation sessions to refugees and asylum seekers all over the world. We deliver our lessons over various platforms, such as zoom, WhatsApp and even text message! This ensures that everyone can access our lessons and engage with the courses we offer. Accessibility is a key component of our mission, and online lessons allow the greatest outreach to refugees living in various time zones and circumstances.
Many of the in-person lessons available to refugees inside refugee camps are overcrowded, with up to 25 students per teacher. There is no time or resources to adapt the material to the individual. By allowing teachers and students to work together from their homes with a flexible schedule, we create an environment that is safe and personal. This makes learning faster and more enjoyable. Our one-to-one lessons can truly transform a refugee’s circumstances by opening doors to employment, education and offering hope and friendship.
We started this charity in June (2020) with a single student. To date we have over 160 teachers offering more than an accumulated 1000 hours of assistance per month. The number of existing students and those on a waiting lists amount to over 250. With your support we can continue to grow and meet the high demand for online language lessons. We live in a world of 80,000,000+ refugees, let’s work together to make their journeys as easy and joyous as they can be.
Many NGO’s offer emergency aid to refugees, providing essentials such as food, accommodation and hygiene products. Whilst this work is crucial for the survival of many refugees and asylum seekers, language is often overlooked. We believe that language can mean life for a displaced individual. The ability to communicate with those in your surroundings allows the opportunity to access education, employment, friendship and so much more! It is also an essential skill for refugees to discuss and defend their rights, make doctors appointments, and communicate their needs in highly stressful environments.
During the pandemic, many charities have had to withdraw their aid from refugee camps, meaning the usual access to language lessons ceased. It is necessary that refugees continue developing their language skills so that they can integrate into their host culture. Beyond language skills, our lessons offer a safe space where individuals can express themselves freely and are greeted with solidarity and support.
Teaching children through stories and laughter
Providing a safe space where women and children can disconnect
Using language to create friendships and tackle loneliness
Turning an interest into a group learning opportunity
Healing trauma through creativity
Creating a school away from school
When I think about Language :Linkers what stands out for me is how it works. Firstly, Humility is integral to our success, refugees need to be able to reach out for help and they need to feel heard. The phrase that I and too many teachers have heard repeated "thank you for treating me like a human" highlights how all too often the treatment of refugees is not respectful, self-empowering, relevant, with empathy or compassion. The way we meet the students and volunteers is always in their comfort zone. This allows us to all be ourselves, relaxed, appreciated, and honest. This open form of communication is encouraged throughout our projects and classes. Working this way has shown to create not just friendly and supportive connections but also successful learning. just friendly and supportive connections but also successful learning. We are creating something that is changing refugees' hope in humanity, belief in themselves and additionally giving them tools to make their future worth the incredible sacrifices they have gone through. Our volunteers and students inspire me daily.
I was delighted when a colleague in my ESL teaching group shared the information about Language Linkers. I had tried to volunteer with a project helping refugees learn English previously, but the time zones made it impractical. With Language Linkers, I am able to put my skills and spare time to good use by helping some (very adorable!) young students learn English in preparation for the time that they will be reunited with their family. These children have experienced horrors that I can neither imagine nor discuss with them, but what I can do is help them move forward from the terrible circumstances they have been thrown into. I can give them a glimpse of fun and normality, while also giving them very necessary tools to prepare them for a better future. A small kindness costs nothing but goes a long way to help someone who is in trouble.
I grew up with refugees in my surroundings, they went to my school and lived in my community. It wasn’t until they gave a talk in high school explaining how they had arrived to Spain that I really understood the human rights abuses they had suffered and continued to suffer. I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of the solution to the current refugee crisis. However, because of my studies and work I was unable to volunteer abroad and reach those that most needed aid. I co-founded language linkers with my mother, who is the force behind the whole project, her determination and hard work inspires me continuously. My English lessons are an exchange of knowledge and friendship. Being able to have such a direct impact is incredibly rewarding and I am humbled by each session.
I volunteered for Language Linkers after catching Covid 19 last year and taking an online TEFL course course to give myself something to do while recovering. Initially, I was allocated one refugee, but this grew to four over about 6 months. During this time, I learnt a lot about using Zoom, some of it self-taught and some of it with instructions from my students. As I live alone, I have often been very grateful of someone to talk to over recent lockdowns. I find that the refugees I speak to really cheer me up. I feel they have helped me so much. At Christmas I was touched with one present from a refugee, on Christmas Day she played me a song she had been practising on her ukulele. I have enjoyed the 'work' so much I offered to start Chat Buddies, an off shoot of the main group which gives native English speakers over 50 years the opportunity to chat regularly with refugees, helping the volunteers to enjoy conversation while staying safe and refugees to experience genuine English language conversations.
Refugees leave their native languages behind when they leave their homeland. So English skills are important for refugees. English helps me a lot in my daily life and for my future, English language is my second language and I need to improve it. I have noticed a big difference between the first time I started and now, now I have more confidence than before. Lessons delivered at the camp are less beneficial than the Language Linkers lessons. The classes I have in the camp are difficult because there are no regular classes. I believe having online classes is more important for me because I can attend the class when and wherever I am! I can even attend when I am traveling.
Language is important to understand people where you live for study, communication, and many things. If you learn one language, you can be another person and see the world from another perspective. Now I speak more than one language I can learn about myself in a new country. I learn a lot of things from you. This is the best thing in my life, believe me. Firstly, I love you my teacher much and secondly, she helps me with my English. She is more than a teacher for me. She talks with me, she helps me, she studies with me. It helps me now and it will help me in the future. When you are in a group you might not feel comfortable to talk or share your thoughts but in 1 on 1 classes I am comfortable to share and ask questions. With my online classes I have improved my speaking a lot. I didn't have any friends in the area before and didn't have the chance to practise speaking with anyone. I must learn how to speak with native speakers and having online classes makes this easy. I think online is a better way to have classes especially during the pandemic because otherwise I would not have been able to practise English. It has been really nice to have a friend through this. I am so thankful for Bridie for finding me the violin and then connecting me with my teacher. She has a lot of patience and this is so important with a teacher.
I love Language Linkers and my tutor, Tess, she is kind, helpful, thoughtful and really successful teacher. Actually she is not only a teacher for me she is like my friend She is sincere to me. Because of Language Linkers My English especially my speaking improved a lot! Thank you.
Language Linkers found me a one to one tutor in a short time. The tutor taught me a topic each week according to my convenient day and time. The lessons were instructive and fluent. Thank you Language Linkers for their help.
I joined Language Linkers to help others and to develop my own teaching experience. I looked forward to my weekly meetings with my students and I’d highly recommend joining this project. I hope to volunteer again in the future.
I was a volunteer teacher with language Linkers and am very sad that personal challenges mean that I have to stop. This is a splendid organisation and I'm delighted to have been a tiny part of it. I met some wonderful people and I would recommend anyone who may be interested to give Language Linkers a call. It's well worth it and I thank Bridie and her team for the opportunity.
As a volunteer teacher with the Language Linkers Project, I have been able to contribute positively to the global community and grow as an individual. I'm pleased to be part of this organization that is doing so much good. Thank you Bridie for the opportunity!
Together we can make a difference. When you support us, your donation directly reaches those who most need it. Thanks to you, our teachers can continue volunteering their skills and reaching refugees with their friendship and compassion. By supporting us, you create hope, trust, and solidarity for a refugee.
With language lessons you can make a refugee's journey a success story. When their world has been shattered, you can help them to become an integrated, independent, and integral member of a safer society. You can help them stand on their own two feet again.
“The lessons give structure and purpose to their days, as they endure the long wait to come to Canada. They therefore provide a huge morale boost to refugees who are stuck in various forms of detention and forbidden by law in countries like Indonesia from working or accessing formal education.”
“Language Linkers has a proven track record of supporting people going through the refugee experience to access quality, personalised language lessons.”
“Language Linkers provides targeted support for those in the most vulnerable conditions in Europe and beyond, both mentally and physically.”
We understand that all too often life’s commitments get in the way of teachers being available to volunteer. We provide a convenient way of getting around this by offering completely online services. This means you can volunteer wherever you are and whenever you can!
To become a part of our team and volunteer as a language teacher with us or make enquiries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are always happy to help!
Please note that teachers must be TEFL certified and have an up-to-date DBS check.