Community-based programme of the year, Tangata Tiriti

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We are very pleased and proud that the Living Well in Christchurch New Zealand Sign Language Class has won the ACE Aotearoa 2018 ‘Community-based programme of the year, Tangata Tiriti’.

(Pictured: Arnya Swindale, Sign Language Tutor, and Theresa Williams, Sign Language Tutor, with Nicola Sutton, Chief Executive, ELPNZ)

The “Living Well in Christchurch” New Zealand Sign Language Class is unique as an English class. It is for former refugees who have little or no previous education, no English, and are deaf. The teachers and learners involved in this programme all work very hard to learn to communicate and live confidently in New Zealand

Most of the learners are from Bhutan and need specialized help to settle well in New Zealand. Many have spent years in refugee camps and experienced hardship and trauma. Most have had no previous education and, in some cases, have no previous knowledge of any language, including formal sign language.

By learning to communicate in NZ Sign Language, the participants are able to interact with many Kiwi communities, including the deaf community. Students also learn to write and read in English.

The class has one deaf teacher and one hearing teacher who is proficient in NZSL.

ELPNZ teaches English to former refugees and migrants so they can settle well in New Zealand. Provision for refugees is a priority.

Classes are organised with input and support from other community organisations.

If you or someone you know would benefit from the “Living Well in Christchurch” New Zealand Sign Language Class, please contact our Christchurch centre for more information.

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