HAMMERSMITH students stepped up their protest against adult education cuts to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses last week.
Students from Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College are furious that government cuts could force the college to charge for the free courses from August.
It means only migrants on active benefits would be eligible for free classes and others will have to pay between £500 and £1,000 per year.
EWL college is the largest provider of ESOL courses in the UK with 2,924 students, of which 2,104 are women, and many attended the latest peaceful protest outside St Paul's Church, in Hammersmith last Wednesday (18/5).
Tim Dalrymple, an ESOL teacher at the college, spoke passionately about the need for these classes to continue.
“These students want to play a productive role in society,” he said. "They want to pay taxes, become doctors, communicate with their children’s teachers – but without English they cannot."
Muhebba Mohammadi was a doctor in Afghanistan but had to flee the war-torn country with her young family because of problems her husband faced from the Government.
Arriving in the UK, Mrs Mohammadi did not speak any English but has high hopes of studying nanotechnology medicine at university.
She said: "My English has improved over the last year but I am still not fluent. All I want is to be able to improve my skills in the UK and for that, I need to speak English."
The Action for ESOL Campaign is a nationwide bid to stop the Government cutting free English classes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.
Organiser, Nicci Golland who has taught ESOL for seven years, explained that the classes offer much more than language.
She said: "When someone goes to another country, it is all about learning to live in that country.