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Hundreds of children perform at York Hall gala in every language under the sun

PUBLISHED: 10:34 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:37 07 March 2016

Youngsters take a selfie at York Hall's Language Day festival [photos: Isabel Infantes]

Youngsters take a selfie at York Hall's Language Day festival [photos: Isabel Infantes]

Isabel Infantes

Youngsters who go to after-school language classes took part in an International Language Day gala when 700 children and parents packed Bethnal Green's York Hall.

Pupils from Bethnal Green's Columbia Primary perform at International Language DayPupils from Bethnal Green's Columbia Primary perform at International Language Day

Youngsters who go to after-school language classes held an International Language Day gala when 700 children and parents packed Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

Role plays, cultural dancing, drama and singing were performed in Arabic, Chinese, Lithuanian, Bengali, Panjabi, Spanish and Urdu.

Last Wednesday’s gala coincided with International Mother Language Day, Unesco’s global event remembering language movement martyrs who lost their lives 60 years ago campaigning for Bengali to be a state language in the-then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

Some 45 after-school classes are run in the East End catering for 2,000 children a week, including A-levels in Arabic, Cantonese, Bengali, Mandarin and Urdu for ages 11 to 14, all held outside school hours.

EC Lighthouse Lithuanian School on stage at York HallEC Lighthouse Lithuanian School on stage at York Hall

Primary school children are also learning modern foreign languages such as French, Spanish and Arabic from Tower Hamlets council’s community language tutors.

The youngsters received awards at the gala night for achievements in Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Awards were presented to schools, community groups, students and teaching staff.

They included EC Lighthouse Lithuanian School (for best language project), Hasna Rahman (best community language tutor), Dunia Wasman (best GCSE tutor) and Claudie Verger (best modern foreign languages tutor).

Writing competition winners were Nahyan Sidique, 5 (poster 5-7 years), Joyna Aziz, 11 (leaflet 8-11 years) and Jaishu Liu, aged 14 (essay or article 12-16 years). Special Distinction went to youngsters from Phoenix Bengali Club, Munim, Tahseen, Akiqul, Tuhinur and Yusef.

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