“What are we really doing to help with that integration?”
In Wichita, there is a large group of refugees that come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These refugees speak several languages, and English usually isn’t one of them. Dr. Menon shared that one refugee household can speak up to four different indigenous languages to the Congo.
“We expect them to come to Wichita, which is completely different than the Congo, and we expect them to go into the school system; we expect them to go get a driver’s license; we expect them to go find housing; get groceries. Language is a big barrier, and language access is a big barrier,” said Dr. Menon.
One of the most common languages in the Congo is Swahili, a language that has no relation to English.
“It is a different language family,” explained Dr. Menon, as she shared how CETARL is working with students to enhance their English skills. “Through our game-based learning platform, we hope we will help them advance in their school year but also that we will help them improve their English.”
The game is launching inside Wichita Public Schools in the 2022-2023 school year and CETARL is hoping for positive results by the end of this year’s education cycle.
“Ilikuwa ni mabadiliko makubwa,” or translated from Swahili: “It was a great change.” That is how Dr. Menon feels about the funding CETARL received from Impact on the Plains.
“[It was] one of those game changer kind of events,” Dr. Menon said. “Refugee children need better access to resources.”
With the $25,000 awarded to CETARL through Impact on the Plains, the game-based learning program could be the help refugee children need to better integrate into a new society… our society.