By Shiny Hoque:
Nowadays, Afifa – a homemaker, is making sure she chats only in English. Last time in the parent-teacher meeting, the teacher told her to teach her son to speak English. But how can she do that when she herself can’t speak or write in English?
Afifa puts her little one to sleep and checks her phone. She gets two hours of free time before her older one gets back from school. During this time, she dedicates herself to learning English.
Working professional Debomita finds it embarrassing when her boss asks her to write a business email. She requests her colleague to type the email for her. She would love to enrol in a course, but after office and household work, she feels dead tired.
Priyanka’s problem is a little different. She is moving to Melbourne after her wedding. Can she adjust to a new country if she can’t communicate in English? She can’t afford to join a course.
Afifa, Debomita and Priyanka are members of women’s community platform SHEROES, and to support their requests to learn English, a new community “English Winglish” took shape.
The community, inspired by Sridevi’s take-charge film, “English Vinglish”, is a judgement-free space, where we members learn via stories, chats, confessions, and conversations.
Every morning, a community member shares an interesting topic, and soon other members, chat, add their bit, and learn something new.
It’s a wholesome activity of sharing, learning and bonding, with an outpour of thoughts, views and experiences. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes don’t stop us from expressing freely, as there’s no judgement towards our mistakes.
In fact, there’s wholehearted help from those who know English better.
Through these conversations, we learn about each other too – our dreams, aspirations and daily schedules.
In doing so, we practice English and enrich our community love. All this is possible from the confines of our home, as we log into the community via the SHEROES app on our smartphones.
Community members are free to suggest ideas and ways to learn.
A member suggested that watching movies with English subtitles helps in improving. That wasn’t all! She began sharing YouTube links of all the movies she watched, urging us to watch and learn.
Recently, we also started reading sessions. A member, who’s an assistant professor of English introduced the reading session. All she did was share the link to a short story and asked everyone to read. It’s a known fact how the reading habit can propel mastering a language.
What’s more? Improving our vocabulary and learning new words have helped us in building a better word bank. When one member learns a new word, she willingly shares with the rest of us.
There’s also ample scope for our doubts and questions to get answered easily with clarity, as English language trainers and communication specialists visit our community as guests. During these sessions, we put forward our doubts and learn simultaneously.
It’s worthwhile to note that not all of us in the community have the time or financial resources, to pursue a course in spoken English or English language.
We’re women who find our space in this community after finishing household chores or office work.
As per our convenience, we catch up with our community friends while engaging in some learning. For some of us, being in the community is part of our daily routine.
There are many who fumble while communicating in English. We often use wrong sentences and grammatical errors occur often, too. Whenever some member posts such sentences, there’s a correction coming our way through links to online tutorials, audios and videos.
It’s like being in a virtual classroom, with no stress on marks, or attendance!
The spirit and energy of the community are infectious. No wonder, it started only a few months back and we already have more than 40,000 members today. There’s no joining fee and the journey is priceless because it has a mix of women – those who want to learn and improve their English, and others who are either experts or who excel, and are happy to share what they know!
This synergy has taught me something amazing – when women help each other, NOTHING is impossible!
About Shiny Hoque:
Besides, moderating the English Winglish community on SHEROES, I love to travel and connect with people. I am an avid reader and a passionate writer. Dream to have a small library of my own someday. A believer in the power of pen more than that of a sword. I believe words and empathy have enough power to bring about any change in this world.