NMC-CESI Language Exchange Workshops for Syrian Youth
Team Member: Arthur Stefanski
Darren Joblonkay wrote -
NMC-CESI is an educational and humanitarian initiative created by a group of students from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Our initiative serves as an educational resource for newcomer Syrian youth, who need help with learning to read, write, and speak in English. Our initiative began, in March 2016, offering weekly language exchange workshops between university students, who are learning Arabic, and the newcomer Syrian youth. Our initiative also provides translation support to sponsorship families and groups like Lifeline Syria.
Each of our educational youth workshops costs approximately $450 to run. Our primary expense is transportation (covering the financial costs of public transport (TTC) for each of our Syrian newcomer participants, who travel from across the GTA). This is done to alleviate the financial burden of attending the language workshops and to enhance their ability to attend regularly. We also provide a traditional Syrian meal for lunch at each workshop, prepared by a Syrian family, who we compensate for their efforts and provide a modest additional income. The organization is 100% volunteer run, and all funds raised go directly to offset the operational costs of the workshop, educational supplies (pens, pencils, erasers, paper), printing costs, and other miscellaneous expenses.
The NMC-CESI Cultural and Language Exchange workshops have become a foundational pillar of the Syrian-Canadian community here in the GTA, providing a much needed space for newcomers to interact with one another and with their Canadian peers, to practice their English language skills, and build a sense of community within their new country. Your financial support will help to continue these workshops and NMC-CESI community activities, helping newcomer youth to adjust to life here in Canada, to make new friends, to learn the English language, and ultimately to succeed and have the opportunity to pursue their own goals and an education.
NMC-CESI has been featured on CBC, the Toronto Star, and Metro - please read more about our activities and educational workshops in the links below!