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30 June 2021

Mudiad Meithrin to hold Welsh language sessions for Traveller, Gypsy and Roma children

Mudiad Meithrin have received a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to start Ti a Fi provision on Traveller, Gypsy and Roma sites in south-east Wales.

As it is Traveller, Gypsy and Roma month, this innovative scheme will help to promote and strengthen the community’s relationship with the Welsh language in Wales, by introducing the language to its youngest children and their carers.

Every June is Travellers, Gypsies and Roma month; a month to share the history, culture and language of these communities and to celebrate the wealth they offer to the everyday lives of people across the country. Raising awareness helps to tackle prejudices, challenge myths and raise their voices in the wider society.

This project will be a first step towards breaking down barriers to Welsh-medium education, as well as encouraging the rebuilding of early years provisions on sites following COVID-19.

Welcoming the grant, Leanne Marsh, Mudiad Meithrin’s Head of Services Development, said:

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to start working with Traveller, Gypsy and Roma communities, as well as receiving guidance from the Travelling Ahead movement, and we thank you for the warm welcome. We want to continue to ensure that children and their families from all communities in Wales come to enjoy play and learning through the medium of Welsh through Cylchoedd Ti a Fi.”

 “We hope that, as a result of the support of the National Lottery and the People and Places grant, this is the beginning of a journey creating links between minority communities and the Mudiad, proving that the Welsh language belongs to everyone.”

Vikki Alexander, Traveller, Gypsy and Roma Sites Mobile Ti a Fi Officer, has already started holding Ti a Fi sessions on a site in Merthyr Tydfil, and there are plans to hold sessions on other sites in south-east Wales in the future.

Vikki explained how she actively introduces the Welsh language during the sessions:

“I want to bring together the traditions of the Gypsy and Roma communities and the Welsh language to create Ti a Fi sessions that are inclusive and inspire the children and their families to learn Welsh. I use music, dancing and story to bring the language to life for the children and their carers, and Daisy the horse is on hand to help with learning the names of the parts of the body!

“They have inspired me to learn more about their culture and history, and I hope that I can do the same for them in presenting the traditions of Wales.”

Lillie Bramley, Glynmil Site Manager in Merthyr Tydfil said:

“It’s great to see the Welsh language available to communities that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to learn these skills through play as usual. This is an exciting new opportunity for young people and families to familiarise themselves with the Welsh language, while sharing the strong Gypsy/Traveller culture and heritage here in Wales.”

Ruth Bates, Head of Communications at The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support this exciting project, as well as Traveller, Gypsy and Roma month. Mudiad Meithrin’s role is key in giving children from all backgrounds the best possible start on their journey to become bilingual citizens. We are proud to be a fully bilingual organisation, and to support projects that promote the Welsh language in our communities. I thank National Lottery players for making this possible.”

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