Gaelic Buddies: new connections for Gaelic-medium pupils in lockdown
The University of Edinburgh’s Gaelic Officer, Bria Mason, has created a new matchmaking service to link Gaelic Medium Education (GME) pupils with Gaelic speakers to keep up their conversation skills while in lockdown.
The scheme, called Caraidean Gàidhlig (Gaelic Buddies), partners families with school children enrolled in GME in Edinburgh, with fluent Gaelic speakers in Edinburgh and beyond. They can then contact one another through online video conversations, helping the pupils – who often won’t have other Gaelic speakers in their family – to practice their Gaelic.
Volunteers have been recruited by word of mouth, and include Bria herself as well as Dr John MacLeod from the Edinburgh Law School. So far, 17 families are benefitting from the new scheme. Bria is hopeful that it can become a sustainable network beyond the lockdown.
Bria Mason said, “The lockdown is forcing us all to get used to using the internet to communicate on a daily basis, and this scheme uses this technology to connect volunteers with the next generation of Gaelic speakers. I hope that the legacy of this lockdown is a better-connected Gaelic community that will be sustained well beyond the end of the lockdown.
“I also hope we might see this as a model for other cities and areas throughout Scotland.”