20th anniversary of the Welsh Language Project in Patagonia
1270 people were learning Welsh in 2016, the highest number on record for the project, which began in 1997.
The growth in the number of learners was generated by the further development of Welsh medium education in the region. The report notes a 202% increase in the number of primary school children and a 14.5% increase in the number of teenagers learning Welsh.
Ysgol y Cwm, a new Welsh-Spanish school in Trevelin opened in March 2016. The school welcomed fifty nursery aged children and it has hopes to eventually teach a further 150 pupils. Another school, Ysgol Gymraeg y Gaiman has also experienced growth as a result of its new building, which opened in 2015. The project celebrated 10 years since establishing Ysgol yr Hendre in Trelew.
The Welsh Language Project
Every year three language development officers from Wales spend March to December teaching in Patagonia. The officers develop the language in the Welsh speaking communities through teaching and social activities.
In addition to this, there is a permanent teaching co-ordinator from Wales based in Patagonia, who is responsible for the quality of teaching.
The project includes a network of Patagonian Welsh language tutors in the region. The tutors visit Wales and attend Welsh language courses and participate in school observation visits, to help the project maintain teaching standards and ensure up-to-date methodologies are used in Patagonia.
The Welsh Government, the Wales Argentina Society and British Council Wales fund the project, which is part of the British Council’s International Education Programme. The Chubut government also helps with funding for Welsh language teaching.
Today the province of Chubut, where most Welsh immigrants settled, has a population of 550,000 people. Of these, some 50,000 can claim Welsh ancestry and 5,000 speak the Welsh language.
In 1865 settlement of ‘Y Wladfa’ was established. Celebrations took place in Wales, the UK and Patagonia to mark the 150th anniversary since Welsh settlers arrived in Patagonia.
Wales is a proud bilingual nation. While almost everyone speaks English, around 19% of the population also speak Welsh. There are many ways to learn no matter where you live. Whether you want to learn just a few words or more, take a look at our language pages to find out.