Following international research and extensive discussion with the faculty of the University of Newcastle School of Education, we are lead to believe that a Mother-Language Literacy Program – offered to Arabic or Dari native speakers, illiterate in their own mother language – will lead to facilitated English literacy acquisition. The teachers in these classes are educated native speakers; mostly former primary school teachers from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan
Our ‘Using English in Australia’ program for both beginners and intermediate students is intended to be in addition to Government-funded English programs. Most of our tutors are Australian-trained ESOL teachers. We also have the facilities for computer education and citizenship test preparation.
For mothers of babies and young children to attend literacy classes, they need child-minding to be available. Our Bi-Lingual Early Childhood Socialisation and Language space is full of stimulating and fun activities for the little ones. It is close enough for the mothers to be in touch if necessary, but out of sight, so both might get on with their own programs.
Many of the women have already outstanding dressmaking and other arts and crafts skills. We provide the facilities for sewing, embroidery and cooking jams and other preserves. Some of the produce forms the basis of micro-business enterprises.
With our partners from the Multicultural Health team, STARTTS, Family Planning and other services we are able to provide the facilities at Zara’s House for sessions in women’s health, family relationships, yoga and relaxation, drumming and Families in Cultural Transition.