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Cardiff refugee centre launches language classes for women

A CARDIFF centre for asylum seekers and refugees will launch English-language classes exclusively for women next week.

The Splott-based centre, Oasis Cardiff, has held daily language classes for the past five years but attendees have been predominantly male.

Women at classFrom December 1, women-only classes will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to give them a chance to gain confidence in speaking English and discuss their own issues.

A mixed class starts at 10am every weekday for beginners, followed by a more advanced class at 11.30am. Nine volunteers, including Cardiff Metropolitan University students, will lead the groups.

A typical class attracts between 25 and 30 people of all ages and latecomers often have to be turned away due to overcapacity. Those attending come from many countries, including Syria, Albania, Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq. This diversity regularly brings up to 21 different languages to class.


A group of six women at today’s mixed class were delighted by the prospect of women-only classes. One of the attendees, Rwyda, a 25-year-old Syrian mother of two, said: “I speak Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic, and a little English. I really want to learn more.”


Rwyda’s notes from today’s class

Oasis Cardiff was founded in 2008 by Reynette Roberts and now has a daily average of 100 visitors. The centre is open five days a week, offering cookery classes and craft workshops among various activities. Women-only events are held each Monday, with a crèche available for children.

Storyteller Cath Little holds weekly storytelling sessions, memorising cultural myths and retelling them rhythmically to help visitors’ English. English-language Coordinator, Richard Eynon, 31, said: “You see them all on tenterhooks.”

Mr Eynon said of the plan for women-only classes: “Most of these women have to integrate in so many different ways. Having that social interaction, the chance to be valued and grab the language, lets them integrate more in their community.”

Find out more about Oasis Cardiff at http://oasiscardiff.org/.

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