Since 2011, Emmaus Indre has welcomed a certain number of undocumented persons who don’t speak French. Some arrive unaccompanied, others with their families, at the Déols and Le Blanc communities. They are originally from Albania, Kosovo, Ukraine, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa as well as North Africa.
The Déols community has begun offering a French language course for beginners called the DILF (French Language Initiation Diploma) benefitting around ten willing companions. This diploma is recognised by the national education system, helps integrate the companions into society and also serves as a certificate which is needed for their temporary residence permit applications.
Based on our knowledge of the tests, we have focused our preparatory work on oral and written communication in everyday life: speaking, discussing, communicating – skills that are essential to integrating and living in the community day by day. A companion has received support in order to apply for her prior work experience to be recognised.
They have learned to recognise their geographical and administrative locations, how to fill in commonly-required forms (school insurance applications, housing applications, etc.)
Three volunteers are involved in working with the companions. The team of volunteers, two of whom have previous training experience (one was a teacher in a secondary school, the other a further education teacher), used a method known as “tortoise teaching”: we therefore take account of each person’s different background, taking the time necessary so that each companion understands the method. The exercises given are corrected by everyone at the same time.
The Centre-Val de Loire region
The Indre Resources Centre against Illiteracy (CRIA36).
We asked for the companions concerned to get involved. They all got on board, their aim being to obtain proof of French identity as quickly as possible or begin planning to move on from the community. They agreed to go to classes on Thursday evenings after work, from 5:30 to 7pm, or a little later.
The techniques used are adapted to the DILF test:
- An oral exam, using a CD
- Role play
- Filling in forms (State medical aid application (AME), or an identity card application, etc.).
Our work therefore focuses on using examples from everyday life. We work in groups as a team, in which everyone helps each other and shares their knowledge, while each chooses their own pace of learning.
Our aim is to continue with these classes, depending on the people we receive at Emmaus Déols.
A new volunteer has recently arrived at the community and works mostly with the illiterate members of the community from overseas.
We would like some of the companions who successfully achieved the DILF to attempt the next level, the DELF A2 (French Language European Diploma, level A2).
We led two sessions in October 2016 and April 2017, with a one-hundred-percent success rate.
The President of the Vocational Training Commission of the Centre Val de Loire Region came to the presentation of the first diplomas and the local press wrote a number of positive articles in response. The second presentation of diplomas took place in September 2017, attended by François Jolivet, Member of Parliament for the Indre department.
So far, eight companions have received their residence permits.
Yes, at the official presentations of the DILF diplomas, local newspapers covered the story, including, La Nouvelle République and l’Echo-La Marseillaise.