Giving back by teaching migrants and refugees

For many people learning a new language is difficult; but learning a new language and moving to a new country is unnerving – negotiating language, cultural, and social barriers can be perplexing and sometimes isolating.

Vesylachmy Wendt understands these challenges because she experienced it first-hand when she emigrated from Penang, Malaysia to Australia in 1996.

Keen to make a difference, Vesylachmy now works with migrants and refugees teaching students English in a volunteer role with STEPS Education and Training.

Vesylachmy is better known as Vijay at STEPS and said working for the not-for-profit organisation has enabled her to use her personal experience and give back to others.

“I have been on this journey of learning and discovery and I know how difficult it is to come to understand the intricacies of the English language.

“I enjoy working with my students and it is a great pleasure when I see them start to understand and develop their reading and speaking skills,” she said.

Working closely with both STEPS teachers and students, Vijay said STEPS is a welcoming organisation and volunteering has rewarded her with a great sense of satisfaction and achievement.

“I think the time and effort I put in is valued and appreciated here, and I feel that the students who are at STEPS benefit from the extra help that volunteers like me can provide for them.”

Vijay also enjoys seeing how opportunities often open up for students after they build their language skills, in their personal and working lives.

Currently STEPS Education and Training is looking for keen and compassionate volunteers to join the organisation and support their community by helping migrants and refugees to learn English.

National Training Manager Joel Stevens said every volunteer is a great support to STEPS’ students and their contribution really does make a difference.

“We offer a number of flexible, part-time volunteer roles for anyone who wishes to get involved and help our students to gain English skills so they are more confident in accomplishing their future goals in Australia.”

Joel said there are a range of volunteer opportunities available at STEPS and the organisation will also support volunteers to develop their tutoring skills; a win-win for everyone.

STEPS Education and Training has a range of volunteer tutoring roles in Darwin, to find out more call 1300 585 868 .

For volunteering opportunities in other regions call 07 5458 3000.

RTO 1847

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