Fakhra Irfan

English Language Learning Award


English Language Learning Award

Fakhra spoke no English when she moved to the UK in 2010 and lacked the confidence to explore beyond her home environment. When her husband died shortly after she gave birth to her third child, adult learning paved the way for her journey to independence. 

When I first started my ESOL course at Oldham Council’s Lifelong Learning Service, I couldn’t speak English. I didn’t have the confidence to go shopping by myself and always relied on my husband. I panicked when it came to making appointments and wouldn’t pick up the phone.  

After the death of my husband, I found myself in a low place that lasted for a long time and I was looking after my three children alone. I started to feel better once I had seen my doctor and started taking anti-depressants. I was able to go back to the Lifelong Learning Service and enrol on more courses. I wanted to develop my confidence and find a job so that I could support my children.  

English language learning has allowed me to gain further qualifications, a job in social care, money, and new friends. I am confident speaking to my children’s teachers and can also help other people in my community understand official paperwork, reading and interpreting their letters for them.  

My friends have watched me develop as a person and tell me they admire my achievements. I always say to them, “If I can do it, anyone can do it, because I never thought I could do all of this.” I am proud of what I have achieved, and I know that my husband would have been very proud too. 

Julie Miller, a tutor at Lifelong Learning Service, said: “Fakhra is a positive role model for her young family and for members of her local community. She is always supportive of her peers in class and encourages them to enrol on additional courses to support their development. Fakhra is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning and will confidently share her learning experiences with others.”