ELTOC provides a unique and valuable service to a vulnerable group of immigrants and refugees living in our community. We invite you to read these testimonials from ELTOC students and tutor. They will provide a personal picture of the challenges our students face and the positive impact that ELTOC can have on their lives.
Atea, a senior from Iraq:
“[When] I came to Canada, it was very difficult because I was struggling with the language. I could not go out by myself even to go for the groceries. I didn’t even understand how to take the bus, how to buy, how the system [works] here but after [receiving the help of my ELTOC volunteer tutor], I can do these things. It helped me a lot. ”
“I was matched with [Atea] who was afraid at first to leave her house on her own – reading street signs, speaking to strangers was very intimidating for her. However, over the year we worked together, she gained the confidence to interact with English speakers: whether shopping, taking the bus, dealing with medical people…. And isn’t this what is needed in our community – to help newcomers learn Canadian values, participate more fully in their new country and feel more at home here ?”
Weimin, an underemployed college professor from China who was working shift work as a cook at a fast food restaurant. His irregular work hours meant he was unable to attend a class:
“It is difficult to live in Canada [as an] immigrant [who] can’t speak and listen English …Life is not easy… because I pay [for] food, rent, bus passes and so on every day…So I have no alternative [but to] work hard to get money…Now my English is getting progress because volunteer of ELTOC help me to learn English every week.”
“Initially, we had trouble communicating with each other. But by working on his listening, reading and pronunciation skills together – and with a lot of hard work on his part between lessons, Weimin was soon able to talk to his daughter’s teacher, approach the superintendent of his apartment building and apply for other jobs. “
Ann, ELTOC Tutor:
“I tutored Phuong, a young woman in her early 20’s from Vietnam. She is visually impaired and was virtually confined to her apartment because of her limited vision. I worked to help her learn to interpret signs and street lights so that she would feel comfortable and safe crossing busy streets and taking the bus. Phuong “graduated” from the ELTOC program after a year to attend a daily English class near her apartment (She had to cross Rideau St.). She subsequently enrolled in a more advanced class that required a bus ride. Being an ELTOC student definitely helped Phuong increase her confidence, mobility and her integration into the community. “
The following is an excerpt from a letter written by one of ELTOC’s tutors (dated January 11, 2011);
“… For several years I have been a volunteer English teacher for the not-for-profit organization ELTOC (English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community). I tutor immigrant women who are housebound, and who would not otherwise have access to English language classes…
Two of my students were housebound with newborn infants. Another was in a serious car accident and unable to walk for many months. My current student (a single mother) works such long hours to support her family that she cannot attend ESL classes.
These women arrive in Canada very disoriented and unsure of themselves. ELTOC tutors provide mentorship and an introduction to Canadian culture, as well as English language skills. My four students had professional jobs in their countries of origin. They are intelligent and eager to learn. However, without individual tutoring in their home they are doomed to loneliness and isolation, without the opportunity to integrate into Canadian society…”