Calls for Patagonia’s Welsh language programme to continue post-Covid
There are calls for the programme that sends teachers from Wales to Patagonia to teach Welsh to continue after the pandemic.
No teachers have been able to travel to the region of Argentina since March last year, and some are worried that they won’t be able to do so for a long time yet.
Last March tight Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Argentine government meant all teaching had to move online.
Argentina is currently on Wales’ red list and the advice from the Welsh Government is to not travel internationally.
Clare Vaughan, coordinator for Teaching Welsh on British Council’s Welsh Language Programme in the country, said last year originally promised to be a “special year”.
She told BBC Cymru Wales: “This is the first year that every bilingual school had their own teacher and there were three taking part in the project with the qualifications and the skills we were looking for.
“The teachers had arrived, but within the month there was the lockdown, therefore that was very difficult.
“The project is funded through the British Council but the Welsh Government is responsible for putting the money in.
“We’re seeing so many projects disappearing, like Erasmus for example.
“We just hope that this project will continue with support from the government. Not just for us in Yr Wladfa, but also for the people of Wales to be proud of.”
Marian Brosscho, one of the teachers from Wales who went to Patagonia last February as part of the British Council’s Welsh Language Programme in Chubut, stayed in Trelew for a few months and continued with virtual lessons.
She told Dros Frecwast on BBC Radio Cymru: “I’d been working online throughout the years, then came back to Wales over Christmas with the intention of going back this February.
“But of course, that didn’t happen, therefore I’ve been working online from Wales.
“I’ve been doing the usual lessons, following Welsh learning courses.
“One part of our work is to conduct social activities to bring people together in order to use the Welsh language, which obviously is a bit of a challenge.”