When Shamim arrived in the UK in 2004, he barely spoke English. Following a serious medical injury which left his wife with severe brain injuries, over a decade later he took a leap of faith and enrolled on an English learning programme. He’s gained a new sense of security and independence and is able to support his family.
In local Bangladeshi communities, it isn’t always widely accepted for men to study English reading and writing. But when my wife suffered from a major injury in 2016, I was left with no choice – I had to be able to negotiate hospital appointments, become the parental contact at our daughter’s school to make sure that she got the additional support she needed for her learning, and support my family, including our new baby daughter.
I started at the bottom at Pre-entry and moved on to an entry level one Speaking and Listening, which I passed last year, but I feel that I’m learning quickly and I’m currently enrolled on Entry level 2. My health and wellbeing have improved immeasurably – I’m no longer stressed about relying on other people to translate, and it’s a huge relief to be able to communicate with my daughter’s school. I feel proud to be able to help my children.
I’m also proud of the impact my English learning is having on my community. More men are now enrolling in English classes, and women who were initially unsure about having a man in the class are now a great support. I hope I can continue to challenge some of these boundaries as I progress through my English learning journey.
Roz Allison, Head of Communications at the WEA, said: “In just two years, Shamim has come such a long way with his English. It’s been wonderful to see his confidence grow as he’s become able to support his family and make a new group of friends through the group, while inspiring other members of his community to follow in his footsteps.”