Following DeKalb County School District, GVP will remain closed on Thursday, January 18th due to frigid temperatures, snow, and icy conditions. No volunteers, interns, service members, faculty, or staff should report on Thursday. Please be safe.
On December 15th we hosted our first Authors’ Tea of the 2017-2018 school-year. GVP girls presented their LifeWorks integrated unit of study in the form of a Living Wax Museum Exhibition. Students brought to life historical women and careers from Queen Elizabeth, Scientists, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Florence Griffith, to Police Officers and many more. Over 100 guests witnessed Forms 1 and 2 students perform We Do The Work and Form 3 students perform We Can All Be Leaders. The songs reflected Forms 1 and 2 students’ unit focus on various careers and Form 3 students’ unit focus on historical women. The audience was welcomed and given a demonstration of the living wax museum and then they went around to students’ classrooms to watch their performances. After the living wax museum, everyone reconvened at the reception for tea and refreshments. Thank you to our village sustainers and new friends that joined us for our December Authors’ Tea. If you missed the action, view some special video clips below and also join us on Friday February 9, 2018 for our next Tea.
Emory University students and some GVP girls are collaborating our a project this school-year. Students in Dr. Isabella Alexander’s Anthropology 385: The Migrant and Refugee Crisis were required to speak to talk with migrant refugees to understand their lives and needs, and propose sustainable solutions to address some of their barriers to success. Emory students Mikailia Schmitt, Konya Badsa, and Sophia Dillon connected with GVP alumnae Khaty Barati and refugee student who resettled from Afghanistan to the U.S. with her mother and sister at the age of 14. After hearing Khaty’s story about her journey, the Emory students proposed “Friendship Beyond Borders,” a peer mentorship program that seeks to connect refugee girls at The Global Village Project in Decatur with non-refugee girls at Atlanta’s The New School to support one another and promote cultural understanding. Thanks to our Mentor Coordinator, Michelle Kuperman for coordinating this pilot program with Emory students and our Community Engagement Associate, Teni-Ola Ogunjobi for training students at The New School. Read the full article HERE.
GVP Alumnae EhSoe Moo wrote about her journey from a refugee camp to the U.S. as a part of VOX Investigates semester-long project and she had her story published this month. GVP alumnae were involved in an after-school program to take a deep dive into matters of critical importance to Atlanta-area youth through the activities of reporting, self-expression and publishing. VOX’s teens worked with professional journalists as mentors as they produced video, audio and written stories, which were published online and in print. Here’s an excerpt from Ehsoe’s story:
I came to United States (our third country) in 2012, when I was around 14 years old, and I had no idea why I came here. It was at a time when United States wanted some of the refugees to come to this country. My mom is the one who told my dad that she wanted to take this opportunity. At first, my dad refused, but my mom was so motivated because she doesn’t want her family to end up in the camp.
At first, people kept asking me why I came to the United States. Then, it was so hard for me to answer them. I spoke no English. I spoke my own language in Karen (from my mom) and Burmese (from my dad). It was really hard for me to learn another new language in this country. My first school here was the Global Village Project (GVP), a school for teenage refugee girls). I still remember when one of the teachers came up to me introducing herself and asked me something, maybe a very simple question like “How are you” or “What’s your name?” But I had no idea what she was saying to me, so I just looked at her and gave her big smile.
I always felt frustrated at myself and asked, WHY?! Why is this so hard for me to understand the language? Have you ever experienced when the teacher is talking to you in class and you don’t understand anything what they say but just look at them like a deaf person? I always blamed myself for not able to speak English and understand the language. I would literally get mad. Adapting to life in this country was driving me crazy. But each year, I felt like it was getting a little better. Then, I started liking the school and my new community.
Each of the students at GVP got her own mentor who looks after us when we move on to high school. Ms. Robbin was my mentor, and she’s also my piano teacher. I am so so grateful to have her in my life because she has been helping me with almost everything and even helps my my family, too.
After I finished school at GVP, I got the opportunity to go to Academe of the Oaks for high school. Four years flew by, and this is my very last year. I was truly so blessed to be there, and I am so proud to call Academe my home because I feel safe and I am surrounded by teachers and friends who were so loving and caring. I love my classmates, because every time when I did my presentation in front of them, I would always get nervous but they understand me and they knew that English is not my first language.
Now when people ask me why I came to the United States I can answer without hesitation. I will just simply tell them that it is because I want a better life.
Ehsoe, 18, is a senior at Academe of the Oaks and is active in Global Village Project.
We’re pleased to announce that the GVP Annual Report 2017 is available!
In this year’s annual report, you will read about all the exciting things that have happened at GVP over the past fiscal year, including:
As we celebrate this season of thanksgiving, I am grateful for another opportunity to thank you, our sustainers and supporters, for helping us achieve our mission of providing a strong educational foundation for our students and for helping the young women we serve achieve their dreams for the future. Without you, the work we do would not be possible. We depend on you and are deeply thankful for the more than 150 volunteers and mentors who work with our teachers, students, and graduates each week; our amazing board of directors who acts as ambassadors and champion our cause throughout the community; our tremendously talented staff and their dedication to our school and students; and for the families that entrust us with their daughters’ education.
We also depend on and are incredibly grateful for the consistent and continued generosity of the community that financially supports us. Your gifts provide full scholarships for our students; transportation for students, staff, and families; lunches at Agnes Scott College; books for students at all levels of learning; arts classes and experiences; translators and interpreters; learning trips around the metro area and beyond; weekly counseling sessions; and so much more. Your support allows us to provide GVP students with an excellent education—one that enables them to build on what they already know and achieve success in high school and college. This May, GVP will celebrate alongside our first college graduates! As we cheer them on, we will be thinking of you with much gratitude. Thank you again for helping us make a difference in the world, one girl at a time.
Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with peace, love, and joy,
Erin and her husband are embarking on an adventure around the world before relocating to Bozeman, Montana. Although she will continue supporting GVP’s development efforts from afar, Martice will serve as point-of-contact for any questions or conversations related to fundraising, grants or donations beginning Friday, December 1st.
Please feel free to stop by the office and welcome Martice, or contact her at email@example.com.
by Amy Durrell and Daphne Hall
From Djibouti to Druid Hills—Asma and Nasteho Ibrahim
From the outside, their adaptation to so much change seems very graceful. Asma (the older of the two), is known for her quiet, thoughtful ways, and outgoing Nasteho is often engaged in animated conversation that includes both intensity and plenty of laughter. Nonetheless, they have experienced plenty of struggle and self-doubt. Asma wrote: “[In high school,] I was thinking I would never find a friend. Also my English is not really good. I thought I might not be able to understand the teacher. But I have found my friends, I understand what I am doing, and I am happy to be at Druid Hills.” Nasteho had this to say: “One of the hardest challenges I have faced was difference. When I went to high school I realized I was different from everyone else. I wore hijab and everyone else was wearing jeans and shirts. But I realized it does not matter how I looked; all that mattered was that I tried my best and achieved my dreams.”
In reflecting on their time at GVP, they both praised the level of support from teachers and volunteers. Asma said it this way: “I liked GVP because there are a lot of people who help you and care for you. I like that there are people who help you like my mentor, Ms. Amy.” In her typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, Nasteho added, “I loved you [GVP], but also [the] food and the help.” Obviously, having lunch at Agnes Scott is a real treat for GVP’s students.
Thinking about a house for their mom and dad really exemplifies how Asma and Nasteho are devoted daughters. When they were students at GVP, they often expressed both admiration and gratitude for the effort their parents made to provide for their well-being. In addition to working hard at school, they also work hard at home. They take turns with cooking and cleaning chores because both of their parents have jobs. When Nasteho was a newcomer, she wrote this poem about her mom in Somali and in English. You can find the English version of this poem following this article.
The sisters have advice for current students. If one didn’t know the whole story of their struggles, it might sound trite. However, knowing that these young women have crossed an ocean to be in this place lends it weight. Nasteho writes, “Some advice I would give to GVP students is to follow your dreams. Try your best and be respectful to your teachers and volunteers.” From her hard-won experience, Asma offers, “Just be yourself in high school and don’t worry. You will find friends.” She adds: “Also—GVP is not a school you leave. You come back and do activities together. People still help you.”
“GVP is not a school you leave.” What a tribute to the Global Village Project school community and, especially, to the Mentor Program and Ms. Amy (Amy Durrell), the sisters’ mentor.
by Nasteho Ibrahim
makes her child
to be good child
so that it can have a
and mother wants her child
to be the best child
it can be
and I love my mother
and every one of you
love your mother
and she love her child
more than anything in the world
I wish I can be
like my mom
I am proud of
and of course the other moms
I love my mom
Mom I still love you
by Daphne Hall
“It’s the best afternoon of my week!”
Brad’s lifelong interest in history and current events makes support in social studies classes a perfect match. His passion in that area also led him to pursue a journalism degree in upstate New York. Now he uses the lens of history and current events in his career as a producer at CNN where he works with a team of others to assign, select, and arrange news for the world to see.
It’s a bit ironic that, when he comes to GVP, he gets to see the world through the eyes of young women who come from many parts of the world. “At first, it surprised me,” he said, about how much he learned from the students. “[Now] I feel so privileged to have an eye into their world and see how other people get where they are. I learn so much about the girls and their countries, their upbringing, and their culture. It’s fascinating.”
Nonetheless, Brad feels it’s important to persevere. His first volunteer service was after Hurricane Katrina when he helped re-build neighborhoods—not just once but for several years. “I’ve made it a point to help other people who need the help. It’s just part of me to volunteer. It’s what makes me the happiest—helping other people. Part of it is selfish. It makes me feel good. I wanted those people to know we weren’t just going to leave them. I feel the same about the girls who have such difficult backgrounds. I want to show them that American people are behind them, that there are people who care about them.”
Like many volunteers, Brad’s pathway to GVP came from an encounter with another person who happened to know about our special school. After working in Maryland and Washington, D.C., he was thrilled to have an opportunity to work at CNN in Atlanta, but he knew he wanted to find a place to volunteer on a regular basis. By chance, he asked his doctor where he should go, and that is how he found Global Village Project. GVP has truly been a good fit, with the added advantage of approval from his mom. “My mom really loves it because she was a teacher for 40 years. She retired, and now teaches part-time. I still have a little ‘teacher’ in me.”
Brad doesn’t really offer advice for working with the girls for their sake. It’s more about the rewards one might receive as a volunteer. “Be ready to open up and listen. Be thankful for being able to be opened to this world.”
Decatur, Georgia- November 24, 2017- Global Village Project (GVP) has rejoined Georgia Gives Day and their new partners Giving Tuesday for #GAgives on #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 28, #GAgives partners with #GivingTuesday which is usually held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the US) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.
With an approach focused on students’ strengths and resources, Global Village Project demonstrates how adolescent English Language Learners with limited and interrupted education can be highly successful students and empowered citizens. GVP aims to provide an exemplary model of excellent and equitable education for newcomer refugee learners.
For 9 years now, Global Village Project has provided free, high-quality education to refugee girls ages 11-18. Our full-day academic program emphasizes a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) framework that integrates units of study across subject areas. Field trips and learning excursions are a vital component of our STEAM Education and Career Exploration program because they allow for hands-on, experiential learning and exposure to real-world applications of drama, music, history, STEAM, and career opportunities.
This year for Georgia Gives on Giving Tuesday, GVP is celebrating the friends and supporters that make it possible for our students to explore learning outside the classroom through field trips and off-campus learning expeditions! Our goal is to raise $75,000 to continue to provide off-campus learning experiences for refugee girls. GVP originally joined Georgia Gives Day, a state-wide push for charitable giving, in 2013 for an opportunity to increase our fundraiser power and be a part of a movement that connected organizations to supporters in a fun way. Over the past four years, GVP one of the top ten Georgia Gives Day fundraisers. Now that Georgia Gives Day has joined forces with Giving Tuesday, we are excited to be a part of this global platform on November 28th!
Those who are interested in joining Global Village Project’s #GAgives on #GivingTuesday initiative can visit bit.ly/GAGIVES2GVP. For more details about the #GAgives on #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GAgives website (https://www.gagives.org/c/GGD/) and the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GAgives/) and (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GAgives and @GivingTues and the #GAgives and #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.
Global Village Project (GVP) is an innovative special purpose school for refugee girls and young women with interrupted education. Our mission is to develop a strong educational foundation for each student within a caring community using a strengths-based approach and intensive instruction in English language and literacy, academic subjects, and the arts. With an approach focused on students’ strengths and resources, Global Village Project demonstrates how adolescent English Language Learners with limited and interrupted education can be highly successful students and empowered citizens. GVP aims to provide an exemplary model of excellent and equitable education for newcomer refugee learners. For 9 years now, Global Village Project has provided free, high-quality education to refugee girls ages 11-18. Our full-day academic program emphasizes a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) framework that integrates units of study across subject areas. Field trips and learning excursions are a vital component of our STEAM Education and Career Exploration program because they allow for hands-on, experiential learning and exposure to real-world applications of drama, music, history, STEAM, and career opportunities.
This year for GAGives on Giving Tuesday, we’re celebrating the friends and supporters that make it possible for our students to explore learning outside the classroom through field trips and off-campus learning expeditions!
STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach, which recognizes that creativity, communication, and collaboration are integral to learning. Alongside intensive literacy instruction, STEAM is at the core of our curriculum at Global Village Project. Last school year, groups of GVP students had the opportunity to go on more than 25 field trips across Atlanta, allowing them to practice their classroom knowledge through hands-on, project-based learning experiences.
GVP’s STEAM Career Exploration program is critical to opening our students’ eyes to new opportunities and encouraging ambition. This program brings together an entire learning unit exploring careers, and includes visits to companies and colleges across metro Atlanta.
Dr. Cassie Leymarie, Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator
Kimberli Render, Arts Coordinator
Catching up with Soe Meh
Catching up with Soe Meh isn’t that easy, as her mentor Marcia Partin learned when she interviewed her by phone. Soe works full time, participates regularly in a women’s group, and supports her family at home. In order to complete her interview, Marcia had to wait for Soe to finish packing meals for her parents to take with them to their night shift jobs. In 2009, when Soe was 13 years old, her family came to the United States from the Thai refugee camp Ban Mai Nai Soi. Soe’s parents are Karenni people from the Kayah state in Myanmar/Burma. While in the camp, Soe learned to read and write in her second language, Burmese.
The camp was Soe’s home, the only life she knew, before resettling in Clarkston. Remembering the process of moving to Clarkston, she says, “To come to the USA is not easy. We have to pass all the interview[s] and health examination, which take about six months to five years. For others, [it] might be quick and [for some] it might be long waiting.” About her parents, who have now lived in the U.S. for eight years, she says, “My parents both are working hard and are both on the same night shift at a local plant – they feel comfortable there and also have their days free if they need to make appointments.” Her younger brother is doing well in high school, with plans to go to college, and her older sister Bae Meh lives with her husband and child in Stone Mountain. In addition, “My family is buying our first home and we will be moving to Comer in January.”
Soe attended GVP from February, 2010 until May, 2012. She attended high schools in Stone Mountain and Clarkston and graduated from Elizabeth Andrews High School in 2015. Then her family moved to Athens, where Soe is currently employed as a paraprofessional working with refugee children at Madison County Middle School and Comer Elementary. She explains, “I love working with children, and these children are from different countries, which I also enjoy.” She “would love to become a lead teacher,” and is exploring teacher-training programs at nearby post-secondary schools. “I hope to have my teacher degree in 4-5 years, and I would like to be a teacher in a middle school with 6-8th graders!”
In addition to her work as a paraprofessional, Soe is in a women’s group organized in Comer. Members are from different countries and get together twice a month to sell their woven cotton bags and scarves at the Athens Farmer’s Market. The photo with this article shows Soe at the Market with her loom. “We help each other with problems, have fun together, and sometimes have lunch together.”
Soe has clear memories of the challenges of being a refugee and of how attending GVP helped her and her family navigate those challenges. “There were many challenges to face in the new schools in America, and many things to learn—having to learn a new culture, and to learn to read, write, and speak a new language.” Especially difficult was learning about transportation: “As a family, you don’t know how to use buses and how to get around to doctor and other appointments.” However, surmounting those and similar obstacles was not enough for Soe Meh. “I am proud and happy to help people in need, to help them to understand appointments at the Health Department and how they can get aid.” She has also helped parents understand that it can be important—and even expected—for families to visit their children’s schools and attend parent-teacher meetings there.
In terms of her own schooling, Soe explained, “I liked many things about GVP: I got to meet people from different cultures, there were nice teachers and volunteers, it is in a good location close to our homes and not in a busy place, the classes are smaller, and it is easier for students to feel comfortable. Public school classrooms are large, and it is hard when you speak another language.”
Soe Meh knows that graduation, jobs, and new houses don’t come to a person just by wishing for them. For girls who want to continue their schooling or get jobs, she has this advice: “Work hard; keep asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask – there is always an answer to any question. When you are in high school, you can get into an after-school program and I recommend that you also get into activities you are interested in, perhaps sports – these activities will help you in the future when you apply for college or a job and they ask what you are interested in and what activities you participated in.” Acknowledging the challenges of obtaining financial aid for college, she says, “I also recommend that you apply for college while you are in high school, while you have counselors to help you and to advise you about financial aid.”
Nonetheless, even while talking about how to get help and support for oneself, Soe reinforces her strongly held belief in helping others through the hard times of being new. “It is very important to help your family, friends, and neighbors who are learning all the new things that you have faced. Even little things will help them.”
Kate Mull, School Support AmeriCorps Members
We are excited to start this partnership with NDMVA and AmeriCorps Network to host members at GVP. When you see Ani and Kate, welcome them to GVP and send them well wishes on their 11-month service!