Meet our Staff – Nyambz

Added: Jan 17, 2020

The first time you walk into EMBS, the first person you’re likely to see is a radiant, warm-hearted African woman, welcoming you in from behind a receptionist desk. “Hello, sweetie, how are you?” she asks, smiling.

Her name is Nyambz, and our students and staff consider her to be the “heart” and the “face” of EMBS. She is the first person students encounter in the morning and the last person they bid goodnight to in the evening. She cares deeply about the students – she calls them at home if they are missing classes, she checks in with them if she knows they’re struggling, she gives hugs, she remembers birthdays, she senses if someone needs extra help or a warm cup of tea. It’s no wonder that her nickname around the office is “Mamma Africa.”

One thing you might not have guessed about Nyambz is that she was once a student herself at EMBS, 18 years ago. She moved to Oxford back in 2002 with her husband and her two small children. In Africa, she was taught how to read and write English in school, but she had almost no speaking or conversation practise. This, along with just wanting to get out of the house, made her first come to EMBS to take a childcare course.

After the childcare course ended, she found the confidence to do her first work experience, at the Balwaadi Creche, a playgroup for children up to 8 years old. She found that her English really started improving during this time because she had to interact with and communicate with lots of people every day. 

In 2007, she started working on the admin team at EMBS, from 9-5. Over more than a decade of working here, she has become instrumental to our small college. She says her favourite part about her job is that she can “meet people from all walks of life.”

“I’m really privileged to have met a lot of people here, and some of them are my best friends,” she comments.

So, how did she do it? How did she go from a student here to one of the most cherished and integral employees? And how did she improve her English to the level of a native speaker?

“Just don’t give up!” she advises. “Attend the classes. If you don’t attend, you won’t progress. If you keep doing it, you will improve.”

“There’s an expression in my language – it’s similar to ‘you reap what you sow’ in English. But it sounds better in my language! Nothing comes for free in life – you must put in the work.”

Thank you Nyambz for all your hard work. You are the soul of our organisation. And here’s to many more years to come!


«...I not only consider EMBS a college - I also see it as my family.... »

«I arrived in this country four months ago, without any confidence in my English and really scared to be an independent person at sixteen. I didn't know what my next steps were since the education in my country is really different. One day, my aunt bought me to EMBS. At the beginning I was really insecure as I didn't even know how to use the bus and get there, it made me feel like a child surrounded by grown up people that didn’t understand me at all. Ever since I started to study here, everything negative that I used to feel has changed completely. I’ve got to meet amazing people like Jo and Jane, who took care of me and were concerned about my future. I’ve also got to make amazing friends like Aisha and Abner that always make me laugh and feel positive about life. Of course, this is not the only thing that the EMBS has given me: they also are deeply involved in my education and they help me in any way possible to achieve my purpose, which is go to university and study human rights. If I am being honest, I not only consider EMBS a college - I also see it as my family. »


«...I really enjoyed my time at EMBS, meeting so many different people and making lots of fun and happy memories.... »

«Before I came to EMBS I was very shy and often felt very awkward to start conversations with people around me, I never spoke unless I was spoken to but after a few months of being here I gained confidence and was able to communicate with other people comfortably, made good friends and feel like I knew myself. I really enjoyed my time at EMBS, meeting so many different people and making lots of fun and happy memories.»


«...The staff are really nice and friendly.... »

«Before I came to EMBS I was very shy and not confident, I used to be very afraid to speak English outside of college. But after several months, EMBS helped me to gain more confidence and especially improve my spoken and written English. The staff are really nice and friendly.»