38 students from Guwahati & Shillong graduate from US Consulate, Kolkata
Thirty-eight students from Guwahati and Shillong have graduated successfully from the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata’s English Access Microscholarship programme.
GUWAHATI: Thirty-eight students from Guwahati and Shillong have graduated successfully from the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata's English Access Microscholarship programme.
In a function held here in the city recently Sonia Laul, Political and Economic Consul of the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata, handed over certificates to the students in the presence of Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People and Ketaki Bordoloi, Director, Shishu Sarothi Centre for Rehabilitation & Training for Multiple Disability.
The socially distanced ceremony marked the completion of two years of the Access journey of the students, which started in August 2018. Since March 2020, the programme has mostly been virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The students, guided by their enthusiastic team of special educators, have successfully completed the program. At the graduation ceremony, the students gave presentations, documenting their Access journey, which has shaped them to be leaders in their communities.
Monica Shie, Director of the American Center Kolkata, who met the students in January 2020, said, "I am so proud of the way you stepped up to provide valuable support to your communities during the pandemic, while never missing out on a single Access class. Your creativity during a very difficult year has been impressive and garnered praise from our former Ambassador. Today, you are joining a global Access family of more than 100,000 students from across 85 countries. My heartiest congratulations to all of you—the English Access program graduates!"
Arman Ali said, "English Access program started in October 2018 in Guwahati and Shillong. It is one of the most unique and dynamic programs that we have ever implemented. It is diverse and inclusive as disabled and non-disabled students from different walks of life learn together. As the first batch of students graduate, it is heart-warming to see the difference in their personalities that the program has brought. Access not only teaches English but lends holistic development."
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of a major milestone in U.S. history—the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since it became law on July 26, 1990, this landmark legislation has helped increase inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities in almost every aspect of American life.
This English Access program, in partnership with Shishu Sarathi Centre for Rehabilitation & Training for Multiple Disability, was the first Access program to be conducted in the Northeast, with inclusivity as one of the key objectives. The U.S. Consulate in Kolkata ensures, through the Access program, that students have the tools necessary for succeeding in the 21st century: English skills, cross-cultural skills, computer skills, and critical thinking skills. In this way, the Access program also boosts students' self-esteem, opens their minds, gives them confidence, and invites them to be global citizens.
Through the course of the programme, students administered impactful social media health campaigns and also created wonderful collaborations and partnerships with other Access students from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Russia. This is the Northeast's first Access program, and it has earned appreciation on a global platform.
The English Access Microscholarship programme, funded by the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, is a two-year programme which provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged 13-25-year-olds through after-school instruction and intensive sessions. Upon completion of the programme, graduates are able to compete for and participate in US-funded exchanges and study in the United States. Since its launch in India in 2004, Access English has taught over 10,000 Indian students.