U.S. Consul General in Kolkata Patti Hoffman handed out certificates to 30 students at the graduation ceremony of the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata’s English Access Microscholarship program, in the presence of teachers, and Jungle Crows Founder Paul Walsh, at the American Center today. The socially distanced ceremony marked the completion of two years of the Access journey of the students, which started in November 2018. Since March 2020 the program has mostly been virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The students, guided by their enthusiastic team of teachers, have successfully completed the program. At the graduation ceremony, the students gave presentations, documenting their Access journey, which has shaped them to be leaders in their communities.
Addressing the students, Consul General Patti Hoffman said, “Congratulations! Today you will be joining the global Access family of more than 100,000 students across 85 countries. I feel so proud to address this Access graduation ceremony. You all are humans of courage, and you have chosen to challenge limitations, challenge stereotypes, and challenge yourselves. Each of you has shown indomitable strength and resilience through the pandemic to step into leadership roles in your communities, and to commit to a better future for yourselves and your families. I congratulate each and every one of you.”
The English Access Microscholarship program, funded by the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, is a two-year program which provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged 13–20-year-olds through after-school instructions and intensive sessions.
This English Access program, in partnership with Jungle Crows NGO and Learning Links Foundation, was the first Access program that was conducted out of the American Center. Boys and girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds participated in the graduation ceremony.
Access is much more than just a scholarship program to learn English. The Access program also boosts students’ self-esteem, opens their minds, gives them courage, and shows them just what they are capable of. The U.S. Consulate in Kolkata ensures, through the Access program, that the students have the tools necessary for succeeding in the 21st century: English skills, cross-cultural skills, computer skills, and critical thinking skills.