Jasmin and Hortense from DRC, and Yagub from Sudan reflect on the role of being able to speak English in their country of asylum. The discussants share their own motivations in learning English as well their achievements in after learning the host country languages, especially during the lockdown. Worth noting is book writing project undertaken by Yagub, the music and video clips that campaigned for the adherence to SOPs in the fight against COVID-19 made by Rendezvous group members. Additional benefits include better integration with host communities. As Yagub remarked, “Any language you learn in the country of asylum can help you get friendships with the local community and also get their culture” The discussion specifically highlights how knowing some languages spoken by the host communities relatively lessened the effects of the pandemic. Discussants also tackled some of the reasons why many refugees have not embraced learning English even when they know they need it, including ignorance of the availability of learning centres, affordability (where cost applies), competing demands (for example parents fending for their dependants), hopes for imminent resettlement. The trio also suggested that more English centres be built and more refugee English tutors be employed to encourage their fellow refugees. Your browser does not support the audio element.
Christian and Cynthia from Democratic Republic of Congo, and Flixon, Burundian, discuss the varied impacts of the lockdown. Cynthia talks about the many girls whom she believes begin prostitution in order to ‘get what they want’, the consumption of pornography, and the risk of discontinued education for girls due to the pandemic, and the ways in which teachers used the pandemic as an excuse to begin unwanted sexual harassment. Flixon, himself a teacher, describes the gradual escalation of tensions within and between households as a result of the lockdown. He decries the mental health effects the pandemic has caused the youth and effects on family relationships as well as moral breakdown in the society because of idleness and poverty exacerbated by the pandemic. Christian describes how when his business collapsed, he was able to learn a number of new skills, including scriptwriting and photography. Cynthia equally developed her skills in arts and craft and graphics as well as taking the opportunity of being at home to deepen her relationship with her mother. They offer important advice to the youth, including learning how to save for tough seasons such this. Your browser does not support the audio element.