About 200 low-skilled workers commenced their 8-week training under Reach Out To Asia’s (ROTA) 2013-2014 Adult English Literacy (RAEL) initiative at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

ROTA Executive Director Essa Al Mannai said:

The ROTA Adult English Literacy Program is a way of supporting workers to enhance their ability to achieve personal goals and improve life opportunities. We hope that by participating in the RAEL programme, participants will develop higher aspirations and an increased sense of wellbeing and empowerment.’

ROTA’s Adult English Literacy drive comes again this year in collaboration with selected Hamad Bin Khalifa University and in partnership with Qatar Petroleum (QP) to enable workers to achieve personal goals and improve life opportunities, far from their daily duties.

By teaching labors who work within their own campus, the student volunteer tutors also affirm each university’s commitment to social responsibility and lifelong learning. This year, 58 volunteers representing Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Texas A & M University, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University, and Reach Out To Asia are entrusted with the task of helping low-skilled workers improve their English language skills.

Maniwannan Iyathuruia, migrant worker attending the classes, said that he didn’t know the English alphabet before he joined the programme. He said:

I could not read, write or speak English before, but after attending English classes regularly, my English is improving a lot and I feel better about my progress personally and professionally.’

ROTA’s Adult English Literacy classes are taught during a 16-week period split into two terms. The first term begins on 22September 2013 and ends on 22 December 2013, with the second term starting in February and finishing in April 2014.

For Damar Chaudhary, a worker, being selected for the educational programme is a privilege. He said:

I have always yearned for an opportunity to enhance my English language as I believe that it will give me more responsibility in my job, become more competent, and improve my skills that could eventually lead to improving my work life and finances.’

First developed in 2009, the RAEL Program was created primarily to develop the English literacy and language abilities of low-skilled migrant workers in Qatar. A key feature of the programme offers opportunities for young people in Qatar to take part in an experiential service learning opportunity, developing their skills and knowledge as RAEL Literacy Trainers and Champions. Al Mannai said:

The programme gives something worth to the workers. Something that will stretch their imaginations, a tool that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out to their goals.’

Part of ROTA Adult English Literacy drive (5)During the 2012-13 season, 73 university students taught basic and intermediate level English classes to 130 workers employed across the four universities, with cleaners, pantry staff and other support staff among the Education City workers learning improved English language skills.

The RAEL programme provides both an educational opportunity for workers who may have had limited schooling in their own countries, and a valuable service learning opportunity that gives students and volunteers new skills and an understanding of different communities