Teaching English to migrant workers to make the world suck less

12194588_1023645440991734_5120517775363532323_oThis guy is Sazzad Hossain. He is currently studying in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) having completed his national service.

His mission is to break down the language barrier for migrant workers in Singapaore by helping them better their English.

Language proficiency is something he feels strongly about as he and his family moved to Singapore from Bangladesh when he was 10 and he wasn’t fluent with English.

Having gone through the language acquisition struggle, he knows what others in Singapore are facing on a daily basis.

So, in 2013, while still a student at Saint Andrew’s Junior College, Sazzad founded an English language programme that was to become the Social Development Initiative (SDI) Academy that teaches English to migrant workers in Singapore.

It is currently still a youth-run social enterprise.


Initially, SDI Academy’s Everyday English programme began with the goal of creating affordable English classes taught in workers’ native language. It was a small set-up that was almost a one-man show.

Today it has grown from a small class with a handful of students to being run out of Yale-NUS, which is a venue sponsor.

SDI participated in the 2015 DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia (SVC Asia) and was one of two Singaporean businesses to win a S$50,000 grant under the Youth Social Entrepreneurship Programme (YSEP) for Start-Ups.

The grant by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) helped cover the costs of printing textbooks and worksheets.

SDI has also created the Befrienders Programme, introduced at the tail-end of a course.

This is where Singaporean volunteers help the workers practise conversational English and are introduced to quintessentially Singaporean aspects of life, such as ordering local kopi.

Sazzad said previously: “It started off as a very small thing, more like volunteer work. It was first in a park with a small group of students, and after that, more and more students started coming to us.”

“That’s when we realised that we had to get proper materials like worksheets and textbooks, and we decided to institutionalise our effort and expand our efforts.”

As of August 2015, SDI Academy has helped more than 300 migrant workers from the construction, shipping and manufacturing industries become more proficient at communicating in English.

Source: http://mothership.sg/2015/11/this-guy-in-spore-is-teaching-english-to-migrant-workers-to-make-the-world-suck-less/



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