“Ol’ man river, dat ol’ man river,
He must know sumpin’, but don’t say nothin’
He just keeps rollin’,
He keeps on rollin’ along.”
“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.”
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Nurun’s full name is Nurun Nahar Zorna-
Nurun’s journey started with participating in a family learning programme at her children’s school to develop her English and other skills and help her children with their homework. She went on to do more courses at the Ideas Store which developed her language skills and confidence and helped her to gain part-
She is now doing a health and social care course at college and participating in a community programme to host ‘women only’ events locally. She is proud to have inspired others to engage with adult learning, to which she attributes her success at improving her quality of life and that of her family and community.
“My name is Nurun Nahar and my journey has been witnessed by all those around me, my transformation has been both physical and spiritual. The greatest part of my life is that I have grown a lot of confidence within myself. It is at times unbelievable for me because I always thought I would never come this far, but now I know that it is best to always carry on no matter what obstacles come in your way. This was a great motivation for me and will remain to be in the future.
I started off by entering myself for the ESOL and Family Learning courses which was the beginning of my great achievement. Then I moved onto a range of different courses such as IT, dance, and fitness and these courses made me feel much better about myself. I have also tried my very best and encouraged other parents from my children’s primary school, so I was quite happy to see other parents taking part in these courses. My motivation for wanting to start all these courses were mainly because I felt helpless about the fact that I couldn’t communicate with someone in English. I made it my absolute target to at least try and understand as much English as I possibly could and also communicate. I can proudly say I have accomplished that mission, as now I can understand English and can speak it a fair amount.
It did take a lot of effort and commitment to get this far but I’d say it was worth it because now not only am I confident,but I am able to see myself heading for a good future. I did have a difficult life during the first few courses due to my language barrier. I was not able to speak English or even understand much, however these courses that I took part in helped me improve in English. Furthermore, I would say my understanding and speaking skills have improved much more than when I first started. The other struggle was that I had to look after my children; this made me spend time on my family and not much time on my learning. Nevertheless, it is all about working hard and really thinking of yourself as a strong person, so you can do what you want and never let any obstacles stop you from getting where you want.
The way I overcame these issues was by taking more responsibilities which meant that I had to focus well on my courses to prevent any more problems. Taking many courses and socialising with many different people helped me on my language barrier. I have attended nine different courses from February 2013 to Jan 2014. These courses included Dance, IT, Aspiration for learner volunteers, specific dance class for beginners and improvers, Computer Basics, Aerobics and many more. During these courses I attended a part time job as a shop assistant.
After that, I recently started full time in college and I am currently studying a health and social care course, which means I have not yet finished it, so I still have some work to do. I am also part of a community organisation which allows me to hold events for women only.
‘Adult learning’ had a great impact on my life because it has truly changed my life around from when I first started. As I’ve mentioned I am much more confident when it comes to communicating with others, speaking with others in English, and the amount of experience and knowledge I’ve gained is immense. Furthermore, adult learning helped me experience a good life and made it much easier for me. Many of my friends have asked about my achievements and were interested in some of the courses I have taken, so some of them decided to join adult learning.
In the year 2014 I received the National Individual Award and Learning in Families and Communities Award. I have gotten this far due to my hard work and overcoming any fears and obstacles. I also had a lot of support from a special member called Jasmine Hossain who works in the Idea Store library. I have got many nominations to get this award and I am very grateful for everyone who has supported me and everyone who has thought of me as an inspiration. I would like to see many people who are interested in adult learning take part and become successful.
Experiencing these courses, socialising and receiving awards were surprising and I am glad to say that I am proud of myself for getting this far. If I were to give any words of inspiration to others, so that they can also pursue a journey like mine, it would be: don’t be shy or afraid of taking chances, or asking for help. Take advantage of all the resources and always try to improve on your weaknesses.”
Tutor Jasmine Hossain, Community Development Co-
I remember listening and thinking that Nurun’s challenges were ‘huge’ for her, but at the same time she was not unique. Lots of people react differently when faced with challenges, but what Nurun did was to actually re-
The Nurun that first joined the ‘Volunteering in your child’s school’ (delivered by Idea Store Learning) in 2005 was very shy and nervous, and you might not even have noticed her because she spoke very little, but over the years Nurun has transformed and now she is a much slimmer, more radiant, more confident, bubblier, happier and younger looking Nurun who converses in English. She transformed right in front of our eyes and we all saw it happen.
Nurun’s Literacy, Numeracy and IT tutors all thought that they knew her, but they had no idea just how many courses she was doing and indeed how varied they were. In fact, some tutors had no idea about the Dance and Fitness courses, all that they noticed was that Nurun appeared more confident. Nurun was proud that she had lost 10kg and gained a job within a year. The confidence boost that she got from the weight-
Listening to Nurun’s story made me feel like I was putting a jigsaw together and finally I could see all the pieces that together made up the bigger picture of the real Nurun Nahar Zorna-