Refugee Week: Refugees' ESOL experience in new film - Refugee Council
June 21, 2011

Refugee Week: Refugees’ ESOL experience in new film

A new film about the trials and tribulations for young refugees learning English in the UK will be launched by the British Council and the Refugee Council at a screening in London tonight (21 June), as part of Refugee Week 2011.

Finding Home is a short documentary following a group of young refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Burma as they are taught English at the Refugee Council on arrival in the UK. Through the refugees’ testimonials, the film made by the British Council reflects the raft of challenges the refugees face in making a home for themselves here and accessing the language.

James Lee, Policy Adviser for the Refugee Council, explains:
“Finding Home gives the audience an insight into the difficulties refugees experience when they first get to the UK, as well as the opportunities that they can explore here. This all starts with refugees being able to learn English. The film illustrates how important it is for refugees to develop confidence in speaking and writing the English language, and how this can unlock a range of skills, capacities and experiences in each of them.”

He adds:

“Accessing English classes as soon as possible after arrival in the UK is to everyone’s benefit. Not only does it allow refugees to settle in more easily and contribute to their local communities, it also encourages people in those communities to welcome refugees in.”

Mark Robson, Director of English at the British Council, said:
“There’s much evidence from our work around the world to show how English opens doors, and significantly increases the economic and social prospects of those who learn it. The British Council appreciates this valuable piece of work, which will help to ensure a better future for refugees. We’re very pleased to be supporting the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Council and we look forward to further collaboration in areas that demonstrate the positive impact of learning English.”

Finding Home will be screened initially at the British Council at 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN on 21 June at 5pm as a part of Refugee Week (http://findinghomedocumentary.eventbrite.com/), and will then be available from Lara Wilks Sloan, Refugee Council (020 7346 6736) and on-line at www.teachingenglish.org.uk/seminars

ENDS