Providing Enrichment for Syrian Refugee Adolescents in the Greater Houston Area

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2021-04-01

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According to data provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Syrians are the largest forcibly displaced population in the world with over 13 million people being displaced, 50% of whom are children. An estimated 130 Syrian refugee families with children live in the Houston area. The Syrian refugee children endure extreme amounts of stress in their lives and often face depression, PTSD, generalized anxiety, and traumatic grief as a result. These children further experience the stress of assimilating into the American school system. We reached out to Syrian refugee families in the area through a Houston-based 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, IMPACTs, which facilitates resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Houston area, to gauge their interest in our pilot program. 13 children from 5 families agreed to participate in this project. We grouped the children according to their school grade level (elementary, junior high, and high school). Our goal though this project was to provide an enrichment program for Syrian refugee children to help improve their academic performance and social skills by offering online mentorship once a week, including tutoring of English and STEM subjects and game nights (Kahoot, Scribble.io). In a survey offered by us, the parents were asked to provide feedback on the tutoring sessions offered over a period of 2 months (10 sessions), in which they reported improvement in their children’s academic well-being and communication skills and expressed satisfaction with the program and its positive impact on their child.

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