Every semester, each group of Carter Center interns presents a gift to President and Mrs. Carter. In the past, this has been a cookbook with recipes from each intern’s home country or a pledge that each intern wrote down about how he or she could improve the community. This semester, we decided to volunteer our time for a local organization. We chose the Global Village School, which prepares girls between the ages of 13 to 20 for high school or a GED, and eventually college. What is special about these girls is that they have just come to the United States from countries as diverse as Liberia and Afghanistan, but all devastated by war. These girls and their families have spent years in a neighboring countries in displacement camps before they were finally able to come to the United States as refugees, unable to return to their home countries because of poor conditions that still exist against them there. One of the girls currently at the Global Village School had never even been to school before she came to the United States.
We have just started tutoring them in subjects such as English and science. The most difficult subject to teach them is social studies because it is hard to explain the concepts. Most of them don’t even know why it was necessary for them to leave their home countries. The girls live in a town called Clarkston, GA, which has one of the highest percentages of refugee populations in the United States. By some estimates, half the population was born outside of the United States. Many of the parents of the girls work at the local chicken farm or clean motel rooms because there is no need to speak English. However, Clarkston is not the best neighborhood in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It has a high crime rate and most parents don’t allow their children to go outside. The only time that the girls speak English is while they are at the Global Village School, and it is usually the only time that they have to socialize as well. The Global Village School has a bus that brings the girls to and from school every weekday. The school also provides them with breakfast and lunch. Sometimes their family incomes are so low that they barely eat on the weekends and wait until it is time for school to eat.
The Global Village School is entirely non-profit and receives no funds from government to continue its operations. I feel really honored to be able to volunteer at this school, because it’s helping to educate these girls who have already gone through so many hardships in their lives. I wish that their new community in Clarkston would be a safer place, however, and that the government could provide some more help in terms of their transition to American life.
For more information on the Global Village School, click here.
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