Written by: Maryam Sadriwala

The language we use is often more telling than what our words say. While it is immensely important to hold on to our cultural roots by practicing our mother tongue, being a part of the ever evolving global culture is of equal value. When we enroll our children for school, we spend hours researching the best schools within our reach to ensure that our children receive a good and wholesome education. English being the primary mode of communication, is taught widely in schools and children are often encouraged to practice it outside too. However, sometimes parents are not equipped to support their child in this manner which can lead to a low morale. In order to create an environment which encourages better communication, Badri High School of Karachi, Pakistan began English Language Classes for mothers of current students.

‘I’ve always been hesitant to talk in English; over the years I’ve completely lost touch with the language. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to these classes,’ shared a young mother of two Montessori-going kids. It was her first day at the English Language Classes.

Usually if adults enroll for an ESL course in the metropolis of Karachi the fee can be sky high. Sometimes such campuses are located at a distance which makes it cumbersome for adults to enroll. The challenges amplify for such women who are housewives and caught up in the rigorous routine of their domestic chores that sometimes they are unable to take out time for their personal development and feel stagnant. Many simply feel hesitant to take the step.

Badri High School is a 54-year-old veteran educational institute, which finds itself nestled in close proximity to Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah Karachi in North Nazimabad. A trust-based school, it is dedicated to providing quality education to all strata of the community.

For the students who study here, school is a ray of hope in their lives; education being the only catalyst to turn things around for themselves and their families.

This is the reason the school ensures that it not only provides a holistic nurturing environment for religious and secular education but also gives opportunities to uplift the lives of the families.

In the true spirit of giving back to the community, the Head of the Pre Primary Section, Mrs Tasneem Hashim, initiated a session for English Language Classes for the mothers of the children studying here in January 2019 in the form of ten 1.5 hour sessions every Saturday from 9:30 – 11:00 am.

‘The school providing this platform was like a God-sent opportunity for us in a familiar, non-judgmental environment,’ shared another mother.

The participants were brimming with enthusiasm as they filled the vibrant activity room of BHS. The interactive sessions revolved around participants being given opportunities to speak in English in a variety of situations and in front of an audience.

‘The aim is to build their confidence in a language which they’re already quite familiar with,’ said Tasneem Hashim. ‘We gave the mothers opportunities to express their thoughts in English through reflections and story writing. They also enhanced their language skills and built their vocabulary by issuing a book from the school library every week.’

She shared that the final class was special as each participant had prepared a two-minute speech which they delivered in front of the class. One participant shared, ‘I had never dreamt that I would one day be standing in front of an audience and delivering a speech in English!’

Another shared, ‘Reading and watching English news channels really helped me to improve my English. I feel more equipped to help my kids with their homework.’

One of the course facilitators, Rashdia Adnan shared, ‘The mothers enrolled so that they can help their children but they also ended up feeling great about themselves. Many of them knew the language but just didn’t get situations to exercise their skills. They ended up rediscovering their love for reading and writing.’

The mothers were filled with pride as they received their certificates from the school principal Mr Hashim Saifuddin and celebrated their achievement with a commemorative party.

‘The purpose of education is to build lifelong learners and considering the overwhelming response and the waiting list, we will announce registration for the second batch very soon stated Mr Hashim.