“The first time I heard English was when I came to Vermont from Rwanda. My ears didn’t hear the words. I only spoke French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda. When I started work, my supervisors used signs and gestures language to explain my role at Rhino Foods. Through the English at Work program, I learned vocabulary specific to my work. Because I work with many new Americans, and many different languages are spoken, it’s very important that we can communicate in one language.
These classes helped me understand other people, speak clearly and be more confident. Now, I can talk with my children, who only want to speak English at home, and I don’t need an interpreter when I go to the hospital or to school to meet with a teacher. One of the most important things I learned was how to use past tense verbs– now I can talk about what happened in my past. ”
Theogene Mahoro, English at Work Participant, Rhino Foods, Inc.