'Smart reading' helps Dubai workers learn English

Smart reading helps Dubai workers learn English

Dubai - A total of 39 blue collar workers' graduated and received their certificates


Ankita Chaturvedi

Published: Mon 6 Feb 2017, 5:43 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Feb 2017, 8:22 PM

A group of blue collar workers say they don't feel cornered any more with their improved English speaking skills.
A total of 39 blue collar workers' graduated and received their certificates after having completed the four month course organised by Dubai based non voluntary organisation, Smartlife,
The NGO's English reading programme Smartreading, which started in September last year and ended in December 2016, saw a few labourers coming out with the outstanding performance.
Abuzar Khan, a Pakistani man who has been working as helper in a company which manufactures aluminum manholes for the last one and a half year, said that he has impressed the senior staff in his office with his newly developed capability of talking in English language. He has experienced the joy of making friends, communicating well with the clients and guests at the workplace.
"People have bigger dreams to own a house or a car but I always had this dream of learning English, which is not in reach of people like us. I feel confident today and I can be active on social media as well. I know it may sound weird to many people but this is one of the greatest achievements of my life. I can even look for a girl to marry now," expressed Khan, a topper in the Smartreading programme.
According to Manjula Ramakrishnan, one of the volunteers of the programme, more than 40 workers have been through this training and have really proved that English is their cup of tea.
"In our first programme, workers from six to seven different nationalities took part, almost eight to ten companies initiated to send the labourers. This number is definitely going to increase to 15-20 companies. The screening of workers has already started and the new batch will start from Feb.10 with at least 50-60 workers joining for the programme."
Last year, there were five classes in the labour accommodations in Al Quoz and JLT. This year, there is a plan to conduct classes in Jebel Ali and Sonapur as well.
The programme is strictly for the workers who earn Dh2,500 monthly or below, the NGO's idea is to empower them so that they can at least communicate and express decently.
Manjula, added: "We try to teach them basic English, which can help them in work also. Of course they cannot speak the Queen's English but at least can convey their message or understand."
Nirmala Kakri is from Nepal and works as bus conductor in a city's school. She has more reasons to smile these days as she can speak fluently with the students now.
"I can talk to them, their parents and teachers without any hassle. This has given me a new life I must say, it is a very small thing but it changed my life in a big way."
Ugandan Juliet Nakalema, working as bus conductor in Dubai, is on top of the world these days as she made new friends after graduating the course.
Who can join classes
The programme is strictly for the workers who earn Dh2,500 monthly or below. Companies have to take the initiate to send workers for the English reading programme Smartreading, a campaign started by SmartLife .

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