A CHARITY-run language course is helping Nepalese women who have settled in Reading to integrate with the community by teaching them how to read, write and speak English.

The six-month course is organised by Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association's (SSAFA), Reading Ex British Gurkha Association (REBGA) and Forgotten British Gurkha charity.

It was attended by around 120 women and was run by a pool of nearly 30 volunteers, mainly from churches across the town and including qualified teachers.

The popular project, at Watlington House hall, in South Street, began with a six-week course for fewer than 60 women in October.

Pam said: "Some of the ladies have never even held a pen before. We have taught them everything from the alphabet, how to write their names and count, body parts, days of the week and everyday items.

"It is about teaching them things that will be useful, they want to integrate, they don't want to be on the edges of society. They all want to learn and are so motivated."

Nanda Gurung, 54, who moved to Reading from Nepal three years ago with her husband, who served 16 years in the British Army, added: "I like it a lot. It helps when you go to market and shopping and the hospital."

The College of Estate Management, at Reading University's Whiteknights campus, provides paper for the classes while the REBGA organising the hire of the hall.

Volunteer Jane Stanford-Beale said: "Many of the women have never been to school. Helping them is very rewarding."

Chandra Budha-Thoki, from the FBG, added: "They do not want to just sit in their rooms, they want to get out, be independent and join in with the rest of the community."

SSAFA is appealing for volunteers and resources, including books, pens and paper, as it prepares to run another course after a short break.

To help, email pamreynolds@talk21.com

See www.regba.co.uk