Welsh Language Project

Since 1997, the Welsh Language Project (WLP) has been promoting and developing the Welsh language in the Chubut region of Patagonia, Argentina. Every year three Language Development Officers from Wales spend from March to December teaching in Patagonia. They develop the language in the Welsh speaking communities through both formal teaching and informal social activities.

There is also a permanent Teaching Co-ordinator from Wales based in Patagonia. They are responsible for the quality of teaching.

Another aspect of the project is a network of Patagonian Welsh language tutors in the region. By visiting Wales, attending Welsh language courses and participating in school observation visits, we help maintain the teaching standards and up-to-date methodologies that are implemented in Patagonia.

This project of reciprocal visits, teaching and training has achieved considerable recognition and success. For more detail on the scope, approach and success of the project please download the latest annual report

Funding

The Welsh Government, the Wales Argentina Society (Cymdeithas Cymru-Ariannin) and British Council Wales fund this project, which is part of the International Education Programme. The Chubut government, while not providing direct funding, has supported the teaching of Welsh and the wider Welsh community.

History

2015 marks the anniversary of the first Welsh settlers arriving in Patagonia. 

Wales and Patagonia are bound by tradition, history and language. The permanent settlement of the Chubut Valley and surrounding areas began on July 27, 1865. 153 Welsh settlers arrived aboard the converted tea-clipper Mimosa. Now, in the early 21st century, around 50,000 Patagonians are of Welsh descent.

Key achievements

The classes and social activities help Welsh culture to flourish. We are happy to announce that the language is used in an ever increasing variety of activities, ensuring that more people recognise the language and culture year after year. Testimony from learners in Patagonia indicates that Welsh language is also having an impact on the culture, history, literature and music within the region.

In 2013:

  • Almost 1,000 people undertook Welsh courses in 2012 and 2013. 
  • Class capacity has increased (full figures available from Appendix B).
  • Ysgol Feithrin Gaiman has been officially recognised by the Chubut education authority. 
  • Welsh language teaching has developed across all education sectors from nursery to adult teaching.

Method and syllabus

There are three catchment areas we work in; the Andes, Gaiman and Trelew. We offer a wide range of courses from beginner level to improvement courses for fluent speakers. We hold these in the nursery, primary, secondary and adults sectors.  

Welsh Language Development Officers teach a range of courses from Wlpan, Further, Advanced, Mastery and Mastering. The Teaching Courses, used by The Welsh Centre for Adults, Cardiff University, have been adapted for the Spanish and Welsh contexts.

For more detail on the scope, approach and success of the project please download the latest annual report

Welsh Language Project Committee

The committee advises the British Council on the shape and implementation of the project. They ensure the project achieves the development and sustainability of the Welsh language in the Chubut province of Patagonia, Argentina. The Chair of the Advisory Committee is also responsible for ensuring the quality of teaching and academic resources of the project. Current members of the committee are:

  • Canolfan Cymraeg i Oedolion Prifysgol Caerdydd
  • Cymdeithas Cymru Ariannin/Wales Argentina Society
  • Menter Patagonia and Urdd Gobaith Cymru
  • Welsh Government
  • British Council Wales.