An essay by Albancando, an English for Speakers of Other Languages student at Chattahoochee Technical College, has been selected for publication in “The Change Agent,” a biannual newspaper for adult educators and learners.
In her essay, the Ecuadorian-born woman detailed the struggles of her parents, sister and four brothers for an assignment for her workplace literacy course taught by Arlene Zinsu. Her essay also focuses on the preschool she helped found for native children in Ecuador in 2008 in one of the most dangerous parts of her city.
“Life was not easy for the family in Bogota,” Albancando said. “We faced racial segregation and mistreatment. We were ridiculed for our clothing and physical traits.”
Albancando’s parents moved to Bogota, Colombia, in 1960, where her father worked as a weaver, making shawls, tablecloths and blankets to sell to tourists.
In 1991, the Colombian Constitution was changed to grant rights to native communities within the country.
Native Kichwa Colombians, such as Albancando, were formally recognized in 2003 and formed an organization to represent themselves. Albancando held the office of treasurer and went on to manage a government project to create a preschool for the indigenous communities living in Bogota.
“I decided to do my best to make this opportunity for our children,” Albancando wrote in her essay. “But what motivated me more to fight for this project and create the school for them is that the children would have a place in which they could enjoy good welfare, safety and cultural learning.”
She began classes in March and said she is already anxious to write more.
“I would like to write more articles,” she said. “I learned (from) my parents precious values, traditions, the place where I grew up … the time was not easy for my family. I think those experiences can help somebody to have resilience.”
ESOL classes are offered at Chattahoochee Technical College Learning Centers in Bartow and Cherokee counties for students who want to improve their English speaking and/or writing skills. Some students enter the program with no knowledge of English, while others may speak the language well but want to improve their writing skills, said Rebecca Long, marketing specialist for the college.
Long said many students wish to improve in both writing and speaking in order to feel more comfortable in jobs or in North American culture. Students who are interested in the program can visit www.chattahoocheetech.edu/prospective/learningcenters.