Boston Organization Helps Immigrants Learn English and Become Business Owners

English for New Bostonians has been helping the immigrant community in the city for almost 20 years

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A Boston organization is helping immigrants get one step closer to achieving their dreams.

For many people who migrate to the United States, language can be a barrier to achieving their goals. But English for New Bostonians is helping to eliminate it.



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“What unites them is their desire to learn English,” said Claudia Green, the organization's executive director, "so that they can support their children in school, so they can run a small business, so they can advance in the labor market.”

English for New Bostonians has been helping the immigrant community in the city for almost two decades. It offers free and low-cost language courses to more than 1,100 immigrants each year, empowering them by helping them learn English and setting them up for success.

NECN spoke exclusively with a man who said he faced threats and violence in Mexico because of his transgender identity, which led him to make a risky journey – without authorization.

But the program does not simply teach English. It also helps immigrants who want to become entrepreneurs. On top of language courses, it offers lessons on marketing, finance and web design in a special course for immigrant small business owners.

“The really nice part of it is they become part of a small community of immigrant business owners,” Green said.

Venard Veillard is a student in the English for Entrepreneurs program. An immigrant from Haiti, she now owns a beauty shop in Egleston Square.

“I am learning some new vocabulary and new words in order for me to communicate better with my clients,” Veillard said.

Over the years, Green said her organization has helped many immigrants realize their entrepreneurial dreams.

“Those businesses are really so important to our neighborhoods and to our city,” she said. “And we’re so proud of them.”

“English for New Bostonians” funds 21 programs across the city. Many of its courses are run by the YMCA International Learning Center in Boston, where each students gets the opportunity to work with a career counselor.

Veillard encouraged other immigrants to take on the opportunity.

“If you have capacity to learn, learn,” Veillard said. “This is my recommendation to every immigrant who came to the U.S. If you want to be whatever you want to be, you can.”

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