THE arrival of the Syrian refugee families in Ystradgynlais has led to the setting up of weekly Arabic/English classes at the Old Remploy factory premises.
Syrians who want to improve their English are being joined by people from Ystradgynlais who want to learn Arabic for the mutually beneficial classes.
The class is being run by a British volunteer, Alex Ash, who is learning Arabic. The new Syrian families are keen to learn English so they can mix with their new neighbours and negotiate the barriers that are often put in the way of people who cannot speak the language spoken by most of the local population. The lessons involve learning through reading, writing and conversation in both English and Arabic.
Anyone is welcome to go along to the sessions, which are being held on Monday afternoons in the IT suite in the Ystradgynlais Recycle Centre. They start at 12.30pm and are free to attend.
Caroline Massey, the centre manager, said: “The new Syrian families are lovely people with a lot of skills between them, and time to offer as they settle into a new way of life with us in Ystradgynlais.
“If in this small way we can help them learn and practice English and they can feel included and helpful back, then we are doing what we can to help them integrate and feel accepted.
“We are all learning new culture and language exchange through this. I hope it works for all involved.”
Anyone keen to find out more about the sessions should email firstname.lastname@example.org.