Before the lockdown many Menter Iaith held chat sessions, ‘paned a chlonc’, ‘bore coffi’, ‘peint a sgwrs’ and all sorts of opportunities for people in their communities to use Welsh. It’s nice to see that these are continuing during Covid19, happening online! This is the story of one conversation group run by Menter Iaith Merthyr Tydfil and Canolfan Soar thanks to their development officer Owen Howell:
“The intention was to hold online chat sessions for fluent speakers and learners to come together to talk during this time. Many of our users relied on the center and the groups that met there, in order to use and practice their Welsh, therefore, we have moved these sessions online, using Zoom. As well as the Welsh language aspect, the sessions are also an opportunity for our users to socialise as many of them are older people and thus been isolated for months.
The first sessions began with people that were using the center and attending existing groups. However, by sharing the links on the ‘Dwi’n Dysgu Cymraeg’ Facebook group we have been able to connect with people who are learning Welsh from all over the world. Weekly attendees of the sessions include people from: Montreal, Adelaide, Queensland, Kings Llynn, Liverpool and of course, Merthyr Tydfil!
This has enabled us to create an international network of people who converse and socialise through the medium of Welsh and provide a platform for learners to continue their Welsh journey while they are unable to attend lessons and so on. Also, the socialising element, and sharing stories and feelings from other countries, helps people understand that this time and its challenges are something that applies to everyone around the world.
As many of the participants visit the National Eisteddfod each year, we are planning an international reunion over the next few years! ”
Everyone is welcome to join the online sessions run by the Mentrau Iaith. Contact the Mentrau through their Faebook pages or send an email to learn how to get involved. Here is a schedule for the weekly chat sessions: