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  • Announcing the fifth Champion for Shwmae Sumae Day 2019 04/10/2019
    Dan McCallum, works within the Community Energy Sector, Welsh learner, Father and now Shwmae Sumae Champion!

    Shwmae Sumae Day will be celebrating its 7th year on the 15th of October this year, and as a part of the celebrations a series of champions across Wales will help promote the national day of celebrating the Welsh language. These champions encourage the act of starting each conversation in Welsh amongst those that are learners, with only a few words of Welsh, or fluent, through using simple phrases, as a means of normalising the language amongst their networks and communities.

    Our fifth and final champion to be announced this year is Dan McCallum from Tairgwaith near Ammanford. Originally from Plymouth, he has worked as a Manager for Oxfam in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq; as a Manager for the Programme for Minority Rights Group in Africa and the Middle East; and as a teacher for Eritrean refugees in Sudan. Since moving to Wales twenty years ago, and starting on his journey of learning Welsh, Dan is now the manager of Awel Aman Tawe, a charity that works on developing renewable energy, energy conservation and environmental programmes in Wales. He is a director for Awel Coop which has developed a community wind farm on Gwrhyd Mountain to the north of Swansea. He is also a director for Egni Solar Coop, a project that has been placing solar panels on community buildings and schools since 2015, and who are currently working on a project to place 5MW of roof solar across Wales. Dan’s wife, poet and artist, Emily Hinshelwood has also learnt Welsh, and both daughters have attended the local Welsh medium school. Explaining the importance of the Welsh language, and his experience of learning, Dan says,

    “The Welsh language is important to me because my work takes place within the local community and a number of other communities across Wales, where the Welsh language is the natural language of many people that I work with. As I experienced with my international work before coming to Wales, the ability to understand a language, be respectful of it and its speakers and of its history and cultural ties is essential, if you want to work with communities. Since learning Welsh, I have made many presentations in Welsh, and communicate in Welsh naturally. This is really important for me, and I can feel pride in myself that I can now count myself as a Welsh speaker! I also enjoy speaking with my uncle and my family from Betws, Ammanford where my mother is originally from. Welsh was her first language and her whole side of the family – so my uncle was really happy that I have learnt Welsh, and right from the very beginning, he switched to speaking only in Welsh with me. There are many people in Cwmllynfell where I work, who are Welsh speakers, like Mark the Butcher, who helps me to speak in Welsh!”

    On Shwmae Sumae Day this year, Dan will be leading a group of pupils from Newport around the community wind turbine on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, and also hopes to send a special message from Egni Coops current art project which is raising awareness about climate change by sending a local artist to the moon! We look forward to receiving an interstellar Shwmae and Sumae this year!

    Diolch o galon to Dan for supporting the campaign this year and take a look at egni.coop website for their latest projects and to support this community venture that is working towards de-carbonising Wales. Contact swyddfa@dathlu.cymru for more information and assistance and see also our website www.shwmae.cymru for resources that can help you organise events for the day!

     

    Mae’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb. The Welsh language belongs to us all.

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  • Announcing the fourth Shwmae Sumae Champion for 2019 03/10/2019
    Valerie Humphreys, Welsh learner from Ireland, Sonographer, Mother of three and Shwmae Sumae Day 2019 Champion!

     

    Over the past five years, Shwmae Sumae Day has called on champions across Wales to help promote the national day of celebrating the Welsh language, held on the 15th of October each year. These champions encourage the act of starting each conversation in Welsh, and using simple phrases, as a means of normalising the language, amongst their networks and communities.

    The fourth champion to be announced this year is Valerie Humphreys, originally from Ireland she now lives and works in Carmarthen. She works part-time in Glangwili Hospital as a sonographer and is a mother of three. She started her journey of learning Welsh when her children began attending the local Welsh medium school. She believes that schools have an important role to play in introducing the language to families without any Welsh language background – as they can show how much fun there is to have through the language. This is what started her and her family on their journey with Welsh. Val says;

    “I began learning Welsh when we decided to send our children to the Welsh medium school. My husband is also from Ireland, so we had literally no Welsh in the home before then! But we wanted to support our children with their education – read with them, help with homework and also be able to take part in their school life in general. I learnt Irish and French when I was in school myself, so I was hoping that I could learn Welsh quite easily too! It was difficult at the beginning, but the children were a massive help with helping me learn, because I could practice with them, without worrying. They corrected my pronunciation and vocabulary and everything! Now, I’m attending Welsh language lessons in ‘Yr Atom’ in Carmarthen every week, and I love learning with my tutor and classmates, and I will begin an Advanced course this year! I have a lot of friends that speak with me in Welsh, and it’s lovely to have a social life with them without worrying about understanding everything – and what’s great is that they don’t have to switch their language on my behalf! The Welsh language helps with my work too. I work with young people, and sometimes they don’t speak English at all. Now that I can speak Welsh, I can help them feel more comfortable because they can communicate in their own language.”

    Explaining the importance of Shwmae Sumae Day and learning the Welsh language, Val says,

    “Starting a conversation by just saying Shwmae to people – with no pressure – means that you have nothing to lose! It’s simple to do. Shwmae Sumae helps a lot of people with confidence too. It’s a way in, a way of joining the Welsh speaking community, and if you go on to learn Welsh you soon learn how welcoming the people of that community are and how much you can gain by being a part of it. Yes, it takes effort to learn a language. A lot of time, a lot of worrying, many mistakes. The most difficult thing is finding the confidence to speak with people – and worrying how you sound or if you’re making mistakes. Although I will be in England on Shwmae Sumae Day this year, I hope to start my interactions with a Shwmae, and by doing so, start a conversation about the language with people that have no knowledge of Welsh. You never know, maybe someone else can be inspired to learn!”

    Diolch o galon to Valerie for supporting the campaign this year and for all those Welsh learners working within the Welsh NHS! Contact swyddfa@dathlu.cymru for more information and assistance and see also our website www.shwmae.cymru for resources that can help you organise events for the day!

    Mae’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb. The Welsh language belongs to us all.

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  • And the third Shwmae Sumae Day champion for 2019 is… 02/10/2019
    Nic Dafis, Welsh language tutor, blogger and Extinction Rebellion campaigner

    Champions across Wales have been helping us promote Shwmae Sumae Day, the national day of celebrating the Welsh language, held on the 15th of October each year. These champions encourage the act of starting each conversation in Welsh and using simple phrases, as a means of normalising the language.

    We are very proud to announce that our third champion this year is Nic Dafis – originally from Chirk near Wrexham, and who now lives in Pontgarreg near Llandysul. Nic is a Welsh language tutor for adults, working through Aberystwyth University and teaching in Cardigan. Welsh was not spoken in his family home in Chirk, the last Welsh speaking ancestors were from the generation of his great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. It wasn’t until he moved to Cardiff and started work in a Welsh book shop in the city that Nic decided to think seriously about learning Welsh. With the strong support of his employer, he attended “Wlpan” classes through Cardiff University, and learnt quickly: by the end of the first term he could answer the phone in work, and by the end of the first year, he could cope with interacting face to face with customers, rather than hiding in the back of the shop, unpacking boxes! Soon after finishing his “Canolradd” (intermediate) exam, Nic moved to west Wales, to live near Llangrannog, and soon after found himself teaching night ‘Mynediad’ (beginner) classes as a tutor. At the same time, he began keeping a blog called morfablog.com (the first ever Welsh language blog in Welsh), and in 2002, he launched the discussion website maes-e.com. The online work continues as he currently provides an online newsletter to learners in the Cardigan area, which includes the blog dysgu.com. He is also channelling more of his energy into contributing to the Extinction Rebellion/ XR campaign. He works with others to make sure that the Welsh language is used within the climate movement, whilst also trying to attract more Welsh speakers to be a part it. As he goes on to explain:

    ​“I have a particular interest in bridging the two worlds of learning and teaching Welsh and being active in the campaign to tackle the Climate Emergency. Extinction Rebellion, as a global movement, have been more than happy to support Welsh speakers within its organisation, but we are a small minority at the moment, with much less presence within the organisation compared to that on the ground. There is a higher percentage of Welsh speakers in Extinction Rebellion groups in traditional ‘non-Welsh speaking areas’ than there are in the traditional Welsh speaking areas. I am eager to encourage more “XR Rebels” to learn the Welsh language and at the same time, persuade more Welsh speakers that they have a role to play in the climate campaign.”

    Explaining the importance of Shwmae Sumae Day, Nic says,

    “I see it as a very special opportunity to promote the Welsh language in our local communities, and to celebrate our language and culture. It’s really important to get a message through to those who might be uncertain about their proficiency in Welsh – maybe people who don’t have the opportunity to speak the language every day – that their Welsh is brilliant, and that they have a role to play in the effort to reach One Million Welsh Speakers by 2050. As someone who has used just as much Welsh online as I do in my surrounding community, I would like to think that I have a role to play in discussing my learning experience with others, and to promote the Day via the network of friends and contacts I have through social media.”

    Diolch yn fawr to Nic for supporting the campaign this year! Contact swyddfa@dathlu.cymru for more information and support, and see our website, www.shwmae.cymru for resources to help you celebrate the Welsh Language on the 15th of October!

    Mae’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb.           The Welsh language belongs to us all.

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  • Announcing the Second Champion for Shwmae Sumae Day 2019! 01/10/2019
    Fiona Collins, Storyteller, Welsh Language Learner of the Year, and Shwmae Sumae Day Champion!

     

    Announcing the second champion for Shwmae Sumae Day campaign 2019! Champions across Wales help promote the national day of celebrating the Welsh language, held on the 15th of October each year. These champions encourage the act of starting each conversation in Welsh, and using simple phrases, as a means of normalising the language amongst their networks and communities.

    We are very proud to announce that our second champion for 2019 is the Storyteller and National Eisteddfod Welsh Learner of the Year, Fiona Collins, originally from Hampshire, and now living in Carrog, Denbighshire. Fiona began learning Welsh in London, before continuing to learn once she decided to move to Wales. It was ‘hiraeth’ or longing that brought Fiona to Wales. Her mother was from Rhymney, a nurse who moved to a small hospital in Hampshire after working in London during the Second World War. Her father ran a pub opposite the hospital, and that is how her parents first met! Fiona is the first of her family to learn Welsh. She is a professional Storyteller and believes that to retell the stories of Wales, it was essential to have the ability to recount the stories in the Welsh language – “the lands legends through the language of the land” as she explains. Describing the importance of Shwmae Sumae Day, and her role as a champion, Fiona says:

    “Shwmae Sumae Day encourages people to start each conversation in Welsh, and there’s no better way to give people confidence than by encouraging them to use every single word that they possibly can. I think everybody in Wales has a little bit of Welsh. We all know that ‘Araf’ painted on the road means slow down, and that ‘Maes Parcio’ is somewhere to leave your car! So, I always encourage people who aren’t Welsh speakers not to say ‘I don’t speak Welsh’, but rather to say: ‘I speak a little bit of Welsh’. In that way, they can acknowledge the Welsh that they DO have, even if it is only ‘road sign Welsh’”

    Fiona would like to see more shops, small and large, encouraging their staff to greet everyone in Welsh on Shwmae Sumae Day this year, normalising the language and creating more of a celebratory feeling. She would also like to see more passion encouraged amongst school pupils who are already active in climate issues, to be passionate for their language too. On Shwmae Sumae Day this year, Fiona will be travelling to south Wales to support local activities there to celebrate and use the Welsh language;

    “I have just received an invitation to go to Llantrisant on the day to support Welsh learning groups and the local Merched y Wawr branch as they celebrate the Welsh language. I’m looking forward to visit an area that is not familiar to me, and to meet other learners and those proud of their language.”

    ‘Diolch’ to Fiona for her enthusiasm and commitment to the Welsh language and supporting the Shwmae Sumae campaign this year. Contact swyddfa@dathlu.cymru for more information and assistance and see also our website www.shwmae.cymru for resources that can help you organise events for the day!

    Mae’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb. The Welsh language belongs to us all.

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  • Announcing our first champion for Shwmae Sumae Day 2019! 30/09/2019
    Neil Rowlands – One of the champions of Shwmae Sumae Day 2019

    Over the past seven years, Shwmae Sumae Day has called on champions across Wales to help promote the national day of celebrating the Welsh language, held on the 15th of October. These champions encourage the act of starting each conversation in Welsh, and using simple phrases, as a means of normalising the language amongst their networks and communities.

    Five champions will be announced during the week, and we are very pleased to announce that our first champion for 2019 is Neil Rowlands, originally from Cardiff, now living in Newport. Neil is a Data Analyser and the founder of the online bilingual magazine ‘Parallel’ – a website that makes reading the Welsh language more accessible to a wider audience. He was inspired to start learning Welsh from hearing the language being spoken by colleagues in the Welsh department of Swansea University. At the time he was working next to the department, and hearing the Welsh language spoken daily made him realise for the first time that there were communities of people that use the language naturally. This was the same community that came to support his journey as a new learner, along with the language centre at Tŷ Tawe in Swansea. After developing his language skills by practicing speaking, he began to contribute back to the Welsh language community by volunteering, running a weekly Welsh learners’ group, working ad-hoc in the Tŷ Tawe bookshop and in local gigs. Describing his experience of learning, Neil said:

    “Learning and using the Welsh language has given me the chance to discover the culture and literature of Wales and has allowed me to create hundreds of new contacts and friends. If I hadn’t attempted to say ‘Shwmae’ to people at the beginning of my learning journey, I wouldn’t have had all the great experiences I have had, nor had the chance to give back something to Welsh culture. By now, I can’t imagine my life without the language.”

    Explaining the importance of Shwmae Sumae Day, Neil says:

    “There are many people in Wales that have some sort of relationship with the Welsh language, but sometimes we don’t use the language enough. It matters not one jot if we’re first language or from a non-Welsh language background. For the language to survive we all need to use it as much as possible – it’s better to try and hold a conservation with a little bit of Welsh and some English words that just speaking solely in English. As someone once said, better slack Welsh than slick English! It’s vitally important for people across the country to hear the language, on the street, in shops and schools and show the call for the language on tils and cash machines to give large companies a reason for provide services through the language”

    ‘Diolch’ to Neil for his enthusiasm and commitment to the Welsh language and supporting the Shwmae Sumae campaign this year. Contact swyddfa@dathlu.cymru for more information and assistance and see also our website www.shwmae.cymru for resources that can help you organise events for the day. See Parallel the online bilingual magazine here: https://parallel.cymru/

     

    Mae’r Gymraeg yn perthyn i bawb.     The Welsh language belongs to us all.

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  • New Resources! 18/09/2019

    We have many new resources for 2019 Shwmae Su’mae Day.

    Keep a look out on our Resources page to help you organise, promote and celebrate with us!

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