In a collaborative effort steeped in social responsibility, two Tutor Doctor franchisees have joined forces to give free English Speaking Language (ESL) lessons to Ukrainian children who have been uprooted from their homes. Delivering Tutor Doctor’s bespoke and personalised classes, Suzie Boon of Tutor Doctor Winchester and Adie Twining of Tutor Doctor Central Southampton & Salisbury have driven the organisation of classes which are preparing the children for the new school term in September.
As the Southampton community continues to band together and support Ukrainian refugees in need, the franchisees-turned-local philanthropists identified the opportunity to contribute to the efforts through education. With the full support of Southampton City Council, Ukrainian children have been attending Woolston Library on Saturdays since the beginning of June. Completely free of charge, the sessions are helping develop the children’s English-speaking, so more are prepared to accept their places allocated to them in local schools and to allow them to enjoy an enriching and inspiring educational experience.
“I think this period and this endeavour in particular has shown us how lucky we are,” explained Adie. “Our children have never had to experience anything like this, and it’s been amazing seeing how generous the community is already being in supporting those who have had to seek refuge in the UK. We wanted to help as well to do our bit and we’re incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to do so through our franchises. If this helps children get off to a good start, then that’s brilliant.”
Conducting the 90-minute sessions for the children, who are continuing to adapt to their new surroundings, are tutors, Liuda and Robert. A professor of Physics before leaving Kiev and a refugee herself, Liuda reached out to Adie about tutoring when she arrived in the UK and was given the employment opportunity in order to support herself and her own son.
“One of the best things to have come out of this venture is that we’ve opened more employment opportunities to exceptional and passionate educators,” explained Adie. “Even in the face of adversity and hardship, Liuda has devoted her time to changing students’ lives for the better. To have her and Robert be a part of our Tutor Doctor operations is something we’re incredibly proud of, which will only strengthen our franchise moving forward.”
Adie and Suzie have been working closely with the Southampton Ukrainian Community Support Group to help connect them to the children and families who need support. 11 children now attend the classes in the purpose-built classroom and having identified a further 17 families who will benefit, Adie and Suzie are hoping to give this opportunity to as many children as possible. With ongoing reviews of developments and progress, Suzie an Adie are determined to give these children both the competence and confidence to thrive in their new environment.
“It’s amazing what young children pick up,” said Suzie. “The youngest in attendance was four years old and she grasped sounds and pronunciations so fast. It’s going to be very special for us to watch how this changes their lives from here.”
“Adie and I talked about what we could do together to help,” she adds. “We both want to continue to reinvest in the community we work in. When I started the franchise, I wanted it to be community focused, and although we’re a part of a wider network, this is our community business. We’re such a small part of this very large, community driven, process and it makes us very proud as local franchise owners to make a difference to these children’s lives.”