The case of D.
The case of the 6-year-old D. is an example of the important, many times immediate, reward volunteer work offers. D. is a first grader from India who was born and raised locally. He speaks and understands Greek as if it were his mother tongue. His parents, overtime, have gradually been integrated in the local community and, in broken Greek, try to support him in his school life. His mother attends Greek language lessons at Katheti, so that she can develop her knowledge and be able to support him and his younger brother, a kindergartner, in their academic progress.
Since 2018, Katheti has been offering Greek language courses for immigrants and their children who need language assistance as part of their integration into the local community. The lessons continue and more and more students of different levels and ages come to Katheti to learn the language of the country in which they live. The lessons are being offered entirely by volunteers, with material and guidance provided by Katheti. It’s a work that requires will to give back, commitment and consistency, but it rewards you with satisfaction, inspiration and joy.
D.’s case is an excellent example. At school, D. was experiencing difficulties that are common in bilingual children. Specifically, he had a small, but significant for his development and his progress in tandem with his classmates, delay in learning to read and write. While he knew the letters and their sounds, it was very difficult for him to make combinations and form syllables.
His mother reached out to Katheti for help, and Katheti’s member educator Fay Orfanidou, (MA in Education and Human Rights) took the case personally on. With the decisive voluntary contribution of speech-therapist Maria Papadopoulou; through a series of exercises and reinforcing support, D. quickly showed significant improvement, which greatly boosted his confidence as well.
“And I did it!”
We asked from D. and his mother a few words about their experience. His mother told us: “We came with D. to Katheti because he had problems reading. He speaks fine and he understands fine. When he reads, he doesn’t understand. When we came, he could write the alphabet but when he had to write a word letter by letter, he seemed unable to understand it. He could not understand what letters were in the word. His teacher had told me that he couldn’t attend the class properly. That’s why we came here. I can’t help him study at home.
When he came to Katheti, slowly slowly, with Ms Fay, he learned to recognize, read and write two letters together at a time. Now, at home, he even started reading the letters from the products packages. He now combines letters and can understand what he reads. After he came to Katheti, he started understanding the letters in the words faster. Since he came to Katheti, he thinks and understands them faster. He has no problem anymore, he’s fine. Children who come from India, Albania, etc., such children who do not understand, need help like the help Katheti offered. If they do not understand, they should come here. We parents do not know Greek in order to help them. Such help is needed for our children.”
But let us give the floor to the protagonist of our story, the sweet six-year-old D. In his last lesson he said:
“I was coming to Katheti and reading with Ms Fay. We made some papers on which I wrote letters: K and A, KA. And we were making words. Today, that I came to see how I was doing, we wrote words on the board and I managed them all. I had a good time at Katheti. I like it here. When I came here, I was reading. And I did it!”
The case of D.’s gives us strength and joy to continue the work we started two years ago and to become better, evolving ourselves through the whole process.