Our families endured long, unpredictable, and often dangerous journeys. Many families waited in refugee camps three or four years before finding out they would be resettled in the United States.
After dreaming of peace and security for years, the refugee families have finally found relief in their safe resettlement in South Florida. But it is far from the end of their journey.
They now face the challenges of learning a new language, finding employment, enrolling children in school, and adapting to a new culture with different customs, values, and belief systems. Adjusting to all these changes can be daunting for families as they search for a more secure future.
Language acquisition is the key to success for many refugees. Without understanding English, adult refugees have a difficult time finding a job, learning to drive, reading road signs, scheduling appointments, talking to doctors and teachers, or helping a child with homework or his/her language acquisition.
RAA’s primary focus is to help mothers and children with English language acquisition. Many refugee women are not able to attend established language programs because of cultural or religious traditions, schedules, transportation or childcare issues. Shortly after RAA started with mothers, we saw the need to help their children as well. Our services also include homework assistance and extra tutoring for children as needed.
Our volunteer tutors go into students’ homes and teach them where they feel most comfortable. Lessons are individualized to meet their needs. RAA believes that a mother who learns basic English can help transition her family more smoothly to their new lives and culture. She can advocate for her children. She can help her family assimilate and succeed in their new home.
Our program also builds bridges and a sense of community. For refugees, meeting someone who calls the U.S. home and helps them navigate their new place is invaluable. RAA volunteer tutors say they learn more from their students than they teach. The cross-cultural relationship between tutor and student is really the heart of the program. English language acquisition is an added bonus!