Posted on March 16, 2015

Over ten Vodafone employees have volunteered for Carnegie Mellon’s Language Bridges Programme. Vodafone employees are teaching English to 30 migrant workers at the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar campus. This employee charity outreach initiative comes under the umbrella of Vodafone Qatar's “Better World” program, the company’s corporate social responsibility program. The program aims to contribute to community development in Qatar through several initiative, such as World of Difference and AmanTECH, Vodafone’s online child safety program, among many others.

In collaboration with Qatar Foundation’s Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) program, Language Bridges provides free Basic English language classes to migrant workers. With a 2-hour sessions a week, the programme is designed to teach functional English that will enable the workers to communicate on their work site, in case of an emergency, at the exchange counter when sending money back home and other everyday basic communication.

The teachers involved in this programme are all volunteers, including students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar community volunteers from various corporate and academic entities in Qatar. Over 300 volunteers have taught with Language Bridges, and 700 learners have participated in the programme since 2010. Currently, there are over 1 million migrant workers in the country, most of them are poorly skilled and employed in the service and construction industry. The language barrier triggers daily communication issues, decreases self-confidence and hinders the opportunity to socialise.

Dana Haidan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability at Vodafone Qatar, said: “One of the aims we have for our CSR program, Vodafone Better World, is to enable passionate selfless people to do good in the community and connect them to opportunities where they can reach out and help in any way possible. This also includes our employees and empowering them to invest some of their time to help others in need through connecting them to charities and giving them a certain number of leave days to support their charity of choice.

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We are proud to see that through Language Bridges we have already started to make a world of difference in the lives of many in the migrant worker community. We continue to encourage our colleagues to take part in volunteering opportunities and we always look for new initiatives to support on that front. Language barrier can sometimes pause a considerable challenge to many, especially in a country where there are over 63 nationalities. It is therefore essential to help contribute to, at the very least, the basics of language learnings.”

Volunteering teachers are expected to follow a very detailed curriculum designed by Professor Silvia Pessoa from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The curriculum aims at making the lives of teachers easier because it requires very minimal teacher preparation. The progress of the initiative is reported online at http://languagebridges.wordpress.com/ and the programme's Facebook page invites volunteers, fans and students to post their comments.

The community can support this programme and make it a success by giving funds for training the teachers, providing an equipped training space for the students and donating educational materials.

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