Kashmir Youth Project (KYP) hosted a ceremony on 21 December to celebrate the successful delivery of the Asylum Migration Integration Fund (AMIF) programme funded by the Home Office.
The programme, which started in September 2019, was aimed at providing ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and integration activities to third country nationals, who have the right to settlement in the UK.
In 2022 the programme was extended by the Home Office to include Afghan refugees and Ukrainian refugees in 2023.
The programme has been delivered across Greater Manchester and KYP has supported 964 people over four years.
The courses helped people to improve their speaking and listening skills, prepare for citizenship and gain a recognised accredited qualification in ESOL.
79% (762) of the learners taking part achieved either a Life in the UK (LIUK) or ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualification by the end of the programme.
Beneficiaries were also provided with advice and guidance, employability skills, health and wellbeing sessions, driving theory, youth activities for under 16s, access to GPs, school admissions and signposted for further support.
KYP took the opportunity to recognise the achievements of individuals who received help from the AMIF programme, and its CEO Zulf Ahmed, congratulated all the successful learners.
Deputy leader of Rochdale Council Councillor Daalat Ali said: “This is a great achievement by KYP. Congratulations to all the learners who have successfully completed the programme.
“The Life in The UK test is difficult for people to achieve that have been living in the UK all their lives and for these learners to successfully achieve the qualification in a short space of time shows their willingness to integrate into British society and contribute socially and economically.”
Learners also shared their experiences:
Lubamayra, a Ukrainian refugee who arrived in the UK during the conflict, said: “I got in touch with KYP who were a huge help at this challenging time.
“Acknowledging my urgent needs, they helped me apply for housing, child benefit, Universal Credit, and the Sure Start maternity grant – important resources that would get me through these uncertain times, particularly because I was pregnant and getting close to my due date.
“They also supported me by allowing me access to their food pantry, and their advice and welfare service.”
Rukhsana, a former student, shared her experience by saying: “I came to the UK in December 2021 from Pakistan.
“I first struggled to understand and speak English, but I then enrolled on ESOL and Life in the UK classes at KYP and my confidence grew and understanding the language became much easier.
“I am now studying for my level 2 interpreting course.”
Rukhsana enrolled onto several courses at KYP which provided her with essential skills to progress and develop skills for the future.
Learners who attended were presented certificates by councillors Daalat Ali and Sameena Zaheer.