I am a Volunteer Home Tutor with English Language Partners in Porirua. Languages and new people fascinate me, so I thought, “Here’s a chance to broaden my horizons and be useful at the same time”.  After completing training, I began tutoring Maung Lu and Paw Chit from Myanmar, and have been working with them for three and a half years.

Sitting in a former refugee’s home speaking English with them is one of the few opportunities they get to really practise English and make it their tongue. The teaching resources from the English Language Partners’ office are invaluable and the staff provide heaps of support.

We do not have a set curriculum but adjust lessons to suit their needs, such as assisting with homework from English classes. Often I work with the family to find topics that relate to day-to-day life in their new country. Many times my “English lesson” with them has included visiting shops, health clinics and other appointments, phoning agencies, going for a swim or harvesting bamboo shoots!

Through these times, we have become friends and they can trust me enough to hazard a conversation. It is amazing what sagas I have heard about and understood, all conveyed in their first few hundred English words. It has been a fun time of discovery. I can be a local friend for a new family as well as a language tutor, but I am sure I can never outgive their generous spirit. Home tutoring is the best personal pick-me-up I can think of!

Sheryl Perera
English Language Partners Porirua

Interactive Volunteer Stories Map

This story was shared as part of our interactive map of volunteer stories from across Aotearoa, which we launched during #NVW2019. This map is filled with stories from volunteers throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. This map celebrates the contribution of volunteers in their communities throughout Aotearoa. It aims to inspire people to engage in volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action and to realise the benefits of weaving their communities together through their actions.