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How can English influence a students future career? Written by Chrise M Ehizonomen 01/07/2020 Currently I am doing missionary work in Eldoret, Kenya. I created a program for homeless boys often referred to as "street boys. Their ages range from eight to seventeen years old. This program helps the boys rehabilitate from the use of industrial glue. In addition to rehabilitation we have established a program that provides free vocational training to get the children back into the education system. Our program also provides the young men with medical assistance. Our ultimate goal is to get the children back into the family structure. However many have lost their families to AIDS and HIV. Due to the lack of parental guidance in the children's lives, a situation occurs in which the boys are forced back on to the streets often after finishing our program. We've begun to create other program courses to prolong their stay within the program. Our life skills training course is now about job preparedness. This program will ensure that these children will be able to find jobs based on experience and in the program. One particular skills gained in the program is the ability to use english in a work environment. By becoming multilingual these children will have access to more opportunities. We have been running this program for three years and counting. We have served more than 75 children in this capacity. Street children have a reputation for being considered wastes of spaces and are often referred to as, "children from the dump and glue boys." These preconceptions often lead to the boys being largely forgotten by communities in which they reside. One thing that our program does is recognized that the children come from different tribes and backgrounds. Which means they have various languages, skills. Most of the boys have no formal, instead they are filled with "street smarts." The street children here in Eldoret have their own language they use to communicate with on the streets or WHICH includes hand gestures. Those that learned English used it mostly for begging and soliciting purposes. Since our children all live on the same property as my family the program is mostly english based. Swhahilli is the national language of Kenya. As I am by no means fluent in swahili, in order to promote understanding between the children and myself we came up with the translator program. One of the children would translate my English to Swahili. Then the Swahili responses was translated to English for my knowledge. We used this system for about six months to ensure the English was being understood. During this time all the children were encouraged to speak simple sentences or requests directly to our staff and myself in English even if it was broken. We praised them with high fives for trying and everyone clapping! This pushed the children to want to learn more. At this time I was able to give them a gentle nudge into grammar and we built their language skills from there. We began reading basic stories only in English and having the children translate back into Swahili. Then someone would translate again back into English! We used incentives as part of the encouragement. One of those incentives is children earned movie and popcorn for their participation of the program rules. The movies of choice were question prompting and were all English speaking with subtitles so they could learn to get familiar with basic vocabulary. The children were encouraged to ask questions about what they heard, saw and read at stop points in the movie. The curiosity level of the English level was heightened by Marvel movies and Cartoons. Then through the week one of the staff would yell out quiz time randomly with a bag full of small snack or marbles which the children love to play with. English questions and English responses. Our program puts the children in local schools were they are taught formal Swahili and British English. I however was raised in the United States and my pronunciation deviates from that of British English. This began to create a problem for the children at school with their teacher because of pronunciation variations. So we adjusted our program to model British English so we could avoid miscommunication. We currently have twelve children all who speak from beginner level to high fluency English because of these practices. Since Kenya is a tourist spot for East Africa the children being multilingual and having English as one of their languages increases their probability for tourism jobs such as business translators, court translators, and in religious sectors as a translator for foreigners visiting churches. Our vocational training provides different trades for the children to learn different skill sets and has partnered with outside businesses to provide internships as well. This training gives the kids opportunities to travel abroad while working their trade. Having knowledge of English is an asset for them because many of the abroad jobs require a certain level of english as a qualification. Our Children have translated for me during Our church services because I was the speaker of the day. Their English to swahili was on target as well as the Swahili to English they translated perfectly for me. Our children have had difficulties along the way of learning English and living within a program that prepares them for life ahead, however that is to say their difficulties are not without reward. One thing is for certain learning, and using english in their everyday circumstances, has shaped the lives of my kids and has definitely made their future brighter