Brecon Community Shares the International Women’s Day Love Across Different Cultures

Brecon Beacons ESOL students in front of their diaplsy board at an International Women's Day Event

Brecon Women’s History Group and Brecon Story invited ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners to their celebration of Gwenllian Morgan, on the evening of International Women’s Day.

Gwenllian Morgan (1852-1939) was Wales’s first female Mayor. During the evening, there were talks from locals about Gwenllian Morgan and her impact on the people in her community. One of the main talks was about how 901 women worked together to commission a life-sized oil painting of her after her first term in 1912. This is now residing in Brecon Guild Hall. The event also launched Brecon Women’s History Group’s latest project, to raise the funds for a contemporary bust be placed in Y Gaer’s historic courtroom, alongside the existing male busts.

The event was held on International Women’s Day, so although the main focus was on Gwenllian Morgan, the underlying theme was to celebrate women of all backgrounds. Brecon has a history of inviting and welcoming people into the community, creating a very diverse culture. Brecon has been home to many, from Gwenllian Morgan, who was born and raised in Wales, to the Nepalese, Gurkhas, Ukrainians and many more.

ESOL tutor, Linda Kelly, was asked to deliver a speech on the impact of ESOL lessons, where she discussed how the classes provide students with the ability to talk and write in English, helping to break down the language barrier. However, they are not just taught how to use the English Language. They are taught about British culture and are given advice on everyday activities that may be new to them, such as how to read a bus timetable.

When speaking about being an ESOL tutor, Linda Kelly said:

“It is highly rewarding in so many ways. Our college ethos, ‘More than just an education’, couldn’t be more evident than in our ESOL classes, particularly so when we join all our students together. We have a complete mix of ages, cultural backgrounds, educational backgrounds and so many different religions, but that doesn’t matter, we get on! Chatting, smiling, laughing, sharing national dishes, and conversing with each other in English.  As ESOL students and teachers we are a thriving community.”