Calling volunteers for online English conversation practice with New Delhi NGO

Fulbright alumna Holly Wheeler (Fulbright-Nehru ETA to India, 2016-2017) and U.S. Exchanges alumnus Pradeep Kumar (India, Whatcom Community College, Tourism & Hospitality, 2011-2012) are collaborating to provide English education to students in Sanjay Colony, a slum in New Delhi. Wheeler was an English teacher at Shyama Prasad Vidyalaya and is now an Education Abroad Advisor at Northern Arizona University and Co-President of the Fulbright Association Arizona Chapter.

Kumar studied tourism and hospitality at Whatcom Community College through the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, a U.S. Exchanges program, and started his own business, Delhi by Locals, after returning to India. He also started an NGO, Learning by Locals, with fellow CCI Program alumni, Lalit Saini (India, Houston Community College, TV and Film Production, 2018- 2019) and Alka Sharma (India, Northern Virginia Community College, Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, 2018-2019) to give back to the local community. Funded by part of Delhi by Local’s profits, Learning by Locals runs English and computer classes several times per week for youth in Sanjay Colony, a slum in Delhi. The NGO also hosts workshops on social issues, organizes field trips, and helps young people connect to job and internship networks.

In response to COVID-19, Learning by Locals (LBL) transitioned to all online courses at the start of lockdown in March. After engaging more with the community, an urgent need emerged to expand course offerings for free to address mental health and learning motivation for the colony, and now LBL has started teaching over 100 new students in 10 new classes taught by LBL and friends around the world, including Wheeler and playwright Harley Adams (Fulbright Student Researcher to India, 2019-2020). Guests are invited, including Learning by Locals friends in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, as well as Fulbright Association Arizona Chapter Board Member, Larissa Goulart da Silva (Brazil, FLTA to University of Nebraska, 2017-2018). Expanded class topics include not only multiple levels of English, but also computer skills (basic skills, Google tools), art, dance, filmmaking, playwriting, theatre, and emotional/mental wellbeing—all taught online via video conference.

Conversation group leaders are needed for the Advanced English Discussion class taught by Wheeler and Kumar. Fulbrighters and friends of Fulbrighters are welcome, for once or multiple times. The course discussions center around international topics, wellness and crisis response, and global citizenship. The class meets from 6:00-7:00pm India time on Tuesdays and Thursdays now through the month of June.

If you are interested in connecting with India’s next young leaders and supporting the work of U.S. Exchange alumni, please contact wheelerholly@icloud.com as soon as possible to set the date and prep for the informal conversation class.

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