Resilient people, and communities, are built through languages
The British Council is a global actor and PLACEmaker that actively builds resilience and promotes diversity in communities around the world.
Active in many host societies for refugees, the British Council actively works with newcomers through language training and cultural events. A champion for the value of multilingual societies, they navigate a fine balance between the acquisition of international languages, such as English, and the protection of the mother tongues of newcomers. They do so through their project ‘Language for Resilience’ that aims to build bridges between newcomers and members of host societies through language exchange and acquisition.
“Home languages provide the language skills and literacy which are the basis for learning new languages and learning in general. By protecting the use of refugees’ home languages, supporting their use in the home, throughout communities and through multilingual education, we can help break down the barriers to schooling and further education.”
The resilience the comes with multiple languages was exemplified in February 2019, when PLACE Catalyst, Rohullah Sidiqullah – a Sciences Po graduate and speaker of 8 languages – was a guest speaker for the British Council in Paris. To a mixed audience, all looking to improve their own language skills, Rohullah spoke on the challenges and opportunities for Afghan refugees in Europe. Today Rohullah is an official translator for French Immigration Services, where he welcomes and orients newcomers as they arrive in the country.