English for Women

Parwana: English for Women provides an entryway into schooling and the learning of English for those who might otherwise never attend English classes.

“They’re hungry to learn.”

Globally, there are vastly more women over the age of 15 with no education–451 million women versus 278 million men in 2020.

Clarkston has been home to thousands of resettled women who have missed out on school and are not literate in their home language. Many of these women desperately want an opportunity to attend school, but might never do so in mixed gender spaces, or intimidating classrooms filled with more advanced students.

Khatera Barati

“When I listen to women in my community, I hear so much hunger for education… Education is the thing that allows members of my community to spread their wings and fly.”

– Khatera Barati, Parwana Program Coordinator and resident intern

Learn, Grow, and Change

Preliterate students need lots of opportunities to try without feeling afraid or ashamed and plenty of encouragement and support in the classroom. They often lack the experience of managing class materials such as books, papers, and pencils. They even need to learn to use workbooks and notebooks, things traditional ESL classes take this for granted.

Parwana aims to equip women with the basic English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills needed to navigate life in the US, and to open opportunities and options for women by strengthening their communication skills, confidence, and community connections.

Why the name Parwana?

Parwana is a word and girl’s name used in several Asian languages that means butterfly. Given that we have all come to Parwana seeking to learn, grow, and change, it seems a fitting name for our program and one that we find meaningful.



Fall (August-December)
Spring (January – May)

9am – 12:30pm


Emerging Literacy Level 2

9am – 12:30pm


Preliteracy Level 1



1. Female, at least 18 years of age with no upper age limit

2. Beginning level English learner

3. New to reading and writing (pre- or emergent literacy)

4. Able to commit to class at least 2 days per week, 7 hours per week minimum, for at least one semester (16 weeks)

5. Able to find childcare if needed (no childcare provided at Parwana)

6. Able to walk or find transportation to school (none provided)

7. Desire to learn with other women


Volunteer requirements

1. Female, at least 21 years old (required)

2. Willingness to regularly commit to at least 2 hours/1 day per week (required)

3. Main responsibilities will center on speaking partnerships with students and target language speaking practice.

4. Other responsibilities may include: general teacher assistance, general student assistance, one-on-one or small group tutoring, materials preparation and organization, classroom set-up and clean-up.

5. Experience teaching English (preferred)

6. Bilingual speaker (preferred)

7. Experience in multicultural, refugee contexts (preferred)