RefuNet is about connecting refugees and volunteers who would like to teach them. We strongly believe that the best way for refugees to integrate into society is through face-to-face interaction. But to do so it's really important to be able to speak English. Lots of charities do amazing work offering English lessons in person but this doesn't suit everyone - people with long working hours or who would rather learn from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, most schools aren't able to provide refugee pupils the support they need to keep up with other students, especially if their English level is low or they have missed schooling. For adults not in formal education, they may feel like there is no support at all. We hope RefuNet can be a way for people who want lessons on a really flexible basis to connect with teachers.
Why volunteer as a teacher?
If you'd like to volunteer but don't have much time to travel and teach multiple hours a week, RefuNet is a really flexible way to volunteer - lessons are arranged between you and your student at a time that suits you both. It's a great way to help refugees integrate in the UK, to gain some teaching experience and to interact with people from different cultures.
Whilst I was studying at Durham University, I started teaching English conversation classes to refugees in the community with City of Sanctuary (check out their amazing work here). Through these classes, I got to know a Yemeni family who had recently arrived in the UK. I was inspired by their determination to rebuild their lives and also learnt about the challenges they and other families are facing. I decided to set up RefuNet in September 2018 because I wanted to support refugees' integration into their host societies. Education - particularly speaking English, but also succeeding at school - is a vital way of achieving this and RefuNet aims to reach those who need the more flexible format that RefuNet offers through its online lessons. I also benefited so much from teaching through meeting inspiring people and learning about different cultures. I want to enable others to do the same, particularly those who can't volunteer at the time that charities typically hold face-to-face lessons. Since then, RefuNet has grown and evolved, filling me with excitement. This wouldn't have been possible without the advice and guidance I have had from so many people - friends, family and strangers! Thank you to all these people! I hope we can continue to grow and connect as many students and teachers as possible.