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  • Writer's pictureBeks at Jacari

Jacari Stories: Victoria, Xiulan and Eliana

Victoria began volunteering with Jacari in October 2023, and regularly supports two children, both eight years old, with English as an additional language. Currently studying a masters in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University, Victoria is passionate about human rights and education. These are both qualities she saw within Jacari's work, and she was very excited about volunteering with us.

Before Victoria came over from the US, she tutored English in Michigan Language Centre and the Refugee Education Centre. She has also taught English to children in a refugee camp in Occupied Palestine. Victoria’s experience and understanding of people has made her a warm, fun and charismatic member of our volunteer team.

Victoria has spent three years studying Arabic, with the hopes to possibly work in the Middle East in the future. As she has learnt other languages herself, she is empathetic to the process of learning a language, and works patiently with the children.

'Volunteering with Jacari is always the highlight of my week, and the relationships with the students are my favourite part of my experience.'

A school pupil and her volunteer tutor waving
Victoria with Eliana

Victoria's pupils

Xiulan and Eliana joined Jacari in September 2023, both fairly new to the UK and new to the English language. They started attending Jacari’s after-school tutoring sessions on a Wednesday at their school so they could grow in familiarity and competence with English speaking, reading and writing.

Xiulan speaks Cantonese at home, and came to the UK from China in Summer 2023. She enjoys music, playing the piano, and spends her time swimming and playing chess. She is lively and bubbly, and absolutely loves her Jacari sessions on a Wednesday afternoon.

Eliana came over from Brazil in 2022, with Portuguese as her first language. She loves anything arty, and playing with her friends. In particular, she enjoys playing Headbandz and Simon Says at Jacari sessions! She gets on well with the other children and thoroughly enjoys her tutoring sessions with Victoria and Xiulan.

Tutoring a pair

Jacari tutoring is usually one-to-one but in this case, Victoria tutors Xiulan and Eliana as a pair. Instead of hindering each other’s progress, Xiulan and Eliana fuel one another’s learning and sessions run smoothly. Both girls are at a similar level in their English learning, so work together really well to grow and improve. Victoria describes the girls as hardworking and enthusiastic, and feels she has got to know them really well. They often read together, make crafts and play educational language games. Victoria has watched these girls grow in their speaking ability, confidence and communication with her and with one another.

'At the beginning of the year, they were quite shy and I would have to coax a conversation out of them. Now they’re the chattiest kids I’ve ever worked with! Their communication with each other has improved drastically, especially because they come from different language backgrounds. It has been really rewarding to watch their friendships with each other develop.'

*all names of pupils in our Jacari Stories have been changed

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