Anyone who's tried to learn a foreign language will appreciate the value of individual time spent with a native speaker. And anyone who's suffered from hostility and trauma will benefit from the opportunity to express their feelings in a trusting relationship. But there is also a danger in setting up a 1:1 relationship which can become oppressive when one party enjoys greater security, power and privilege than the other and it can be difficult to extricate ourselves from a relationship in which we've allowed one person to become too dependent on the other.
Seeking or creating opportunities for participating in groups In a group, people can find strength and solidarity through shared struggles, whether these are the horrors that refugees have been through or the struggle to learn English and make one's way in a new country, which they share with our 'settled' conversation clubbers. At the same time, among the diversity of interests and experiences afforded by a group, each member is offered a much wider range of choices and opportunities for different kinds and degrees of interaction (including the choice to be silent, which you don't really have in a 1:1 conversation).
As I received more referrals from REAP, and partners invited friends to join their '10 minutes a day' conversations, I've been reassured that our group of Trusted Friends has been able to accommodate more partners and enjoy the benefits of small group conversations. While encouraging our partners to participate in existing groups like ESOL classes and Conversation Clubs, I've started a Polyglots Club for people who are interested in learning through sharing ideas and concepts from different languages.