Intensive English Courses PDF Print E-mail
From 2007 to 2010, Hope Adelaide provided an annual three-week Intensive English Course for the field workers in the HIV/AIDS Education and Home Care Support Project.

Proficiency in English is very important for the workers. Not only is it the main language in which they receive health education training, but it gives them a better chance of finding work and earning a living in the future.

The course was run in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, in January each year.

Here two Australian teachers, Yvonne Allen and Emma Salter, write of their experiences in January 2008.


The first sight of the city of Aizawl, heading up the winding, rutted road from Lengpui Airport, an hour’s drive away, is breathtaking. Flimsy bamboo dwellings on stilts hang precariously over deep valleys along the roadside, and above, the more solid buildings of the town fill the mountainsides in haphazard tiers. Wisps of cloud drift among the high valleys, and the sky is clear winter blue. The spell is broken a little as the taxi edges its way up the series of narrow hairpin bends to Chanmari and Zarkawt, the narrow thoroughfares that run through it all. The traffic is dense – taxis, motorbikes, huge trucks – but not as dense as the polluted late-afternoon air. There are no street maps of Aizawl, a cartographer’s nightmare.

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We stayed on the top floor of Hotel Chief, a six-storied building squashed among motorcycle and electrical shops in the middle of Zarkawt. We spent our first week accustoming our muscles to the endless steps and stairs that are part of daily life in Aizawl. The bonus was that the roof top at the back of our rooms had the most spectacular view across the mountains of Mizoram.

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Pianga, the IVPHEN coordinator, had rented two rooms on the top floor of a small private school several buildings down Zarkawt from our hotel. He took us to see them the day after we arrived. They looked rather forlorn: piles of dust, broken windows, crumbling walls. By Monday morning, the students had cleaned the place, brought in wooden benches and forms, patched up the hole in the adjoining wall with cardboard, and were talking about how they could run wires from some unknown source so that we could have some lighting and use language CDs and tapes. After brief interviews, we divided them into two ability groups and began the following day.

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The students were a delight to teach. They were highly motivated, welcomed homework, and were great fun. Their tuition in the intervening year had improved their vocabulary and comprehension, but they had had little chance to put it all into practice. Having ‘native’ English speakers as teachers gave them confidence, and by the time Sister Pat arrived at the end of the third week, she was able, for the first time since the IVPHEN Project began, to meet and talk with the workers without the aid of an interpreter.

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During the last week, the students prepared group reports and wrote stories about their experiences in the field, to present at our final session. Go here to read their stories.

Last Updated ( Jul 13, 2013 at 03:59 AM )