Thursday, 28 May 2009

By The Way - Make A Simple WISH Come True

Imagine if you couldn’t speak, read or write in English. The simplest daily things we take for granted, such as form-filling, answering phone calls and taking messages or writing a cheque, would be mind-bogglingly beyond your reach. Your world would be a very limited one because you’re afraid to venture out on your own, being unable to read signs in English or ask for directions.

Do you know a mother, grandmother, “aunty” or woman friend in this unenviable position? Wish you could help these ladies learn some basic, functional English for day-to-day communication, build their confidence and broaden their boundaries?

You can do just that with a little learning, courtesy of WISH (Women Learning English), an adult literary programme for women here, under the aegis of the Society for Reading & Literacy, Singapore (SRL). Registration for the new beginners’ class (Module One) is open from now until 5 June and classes start in July/August. Classes conducted by volunteers are held in the evenings once a week, for one and a half hours each time, at a public library or community centre, over a six-month period.

According to the SRL, it used to be that WISH participants were largely homemakers, grannies and non-working women, ranging in age from their 30s to 70s. Now, the classes are also attracting foreign wives from non-English-speaking countries like India, Taiwan and China; young mums who want to monitor their children's schooling; women who want to read labels on medicine bottles and supermarket products, those who want to communicate better in English with the younger generation and service staff, or understand public notices, warnings, road signs and transport guides.

If you want to register a female relative or friend for the course, do so using the online 2009 registration form at (click on the ‘WISH’ icon) or complete and post registration forms available at library branches and community clubs hosting the classes. (Successful applicants will be notified by post by 15 June.)

Do be aware that the Module One programme is for absolute beginners who want to learn functional conversational English, for women who cannot string a sentence or count in English. It is not an enrichment session for those who can already speak, read or write English fairly fluently. WISH classes are limited to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, and are for women only, due to resource constraints.

Direct enquiries to the WISH co-ordinator at:
For more information about SRL and its programmes, see
(e-mail: tel: 65-6455 1218)


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