Teachers from the University of Leicester’s English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) are helping refugees tackle one of the biggest hurdles they face when seeking asylum in the West: the communication barrier.

According to the Leicester City of Sanctuary, a secular charity that is dedicated to creating a “culture of welcome and inclusion” by welcoming refugees into the city and supporting their transition, the asylum seekers, who have fled wore-torn countries across the globe, are expected to live off the £36 a week they receive from the UK government.

If the refugees were to fork out for private tuition they would have to fork out up to £60 a term, a price ITV News has described as “way beyond their means”.

Philip Horspool, director of the ELTU at the University, mentioned how the city of Leicester has always been accepting and tolerant of evacuees. He said: “With the current situation in Europe, the city is likely to welcome increased numbers in the coming months and years.

“Language is one of the many challenges that face those who leave their own country and, in the ELTU, we have the expertise and desire to help those whose first language is not English.”

The students, on the other hand, are worried about the safety of their families back home, telling ITV News that they wished to remain anonymous about the fact they were receiving tuition.

One refugee from Africa told the ITV reporter that the English lessons would benefit him greatly, allowing him to communicate with UK citizens and boosting his chance of finding work within the country.

Regarding the situation back home, the man added: “In my country, at this moment, it is so difficult to enjoy expression of opinion. People are arrested – or beaten.” The young man mentioned how he was too scared to return to his country for fear of coming to “serious harm”.

In spite of this, many have voiced their support for the University of Leicester’s contribution to the current migrant crisis, encouraging other institutions to step-up and do the same. Philip Horspool adds: “I believe helping those in the local community who need support is something universities ought to do, and I’m delighted that, in a small way, we can offer our expertise and facilities to Leicester City of Sanctuary.”

Image via AP Images.

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