Free language learning programmes at the Kigali Public Library have become popular with children, teenagers and adults seeking to become fluent in English and French.
The Kacyiru-based library offers French and American literature as well as conversational workshops aimed at improving fluency.
Olivier Oleg Karambizi, a coordinator, said conversational workshops are free for anyone who comes to the library.
“The language learning programs specifically at the American corner are aimed at building the confidence of English speakers, especially non-natives, as well as acquire conversation skills,” Karambizi said.
Karambizi who is also the outreach and extension coordinator of Rwanda Library Services, based in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, said the workshops are held Tuesday and Friday evenings.
“The conversational workshop is aimed at helping adults improve their speaking skills. The one and half-hour workshop is led by a facilitator who crafts a list of questions on various topics from religion to hobbies. The questions encourage a 25-member group to critically think and develop good answers to each question,” Karambizi said.
He further said that the questions reveal a bit about the personalities of the members and lead to full conversations and debates on a round table.
“The fact that it is a free space with no judgment encourages the participants to try new vocabulary. The age groups vary from 20- 60; both male and female.”
Ange Divine Muhimpundu, a university student who started attending the conversations workshop in March, said it has enhanced her spoken English.
“My vocabulary has improved and I now speak without shame. I encourage my fellow peers to attend these workshops if they want to perfect the English language,” Muhimpundu said.
Among the programmes include outreach programs that facilitate debate sessions in schools and encouraging youth, especially young girls, to come to the Library and attend the free workshops.