Dallas ISD Refugee Summer Program empowers newcomers to succeed through education

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Beruk Tsuhaye always loved reading while growing up in Uganda, but he never had the chance to read new books in his native country.

Now, as part of the Dallas ISD Refugee Summer Program, Tsuhaye smiled wide as he opened up copies of the Percy Jackson novels and I Am Malala.

“This camp has been the most amazing experience,” he said.

Dallas ISD’s Refugee Summer Program creates a supportive community for refugee children, from kindergarten through fifth-grade, who share similar experiences of moving to a new country.

The academic and enrichment program focuses on helping refugee youth improve their language, literacy, and social skills through interactive, educational and engaging sessions.

Fifth-grader Emile Irakoze from Tanzania beamed as he discussed what he loves about the program.

“It’s really fun and I’ve made a lot of friends,” Irakoze said. “I want to learn more about what’s happening in the world and in different countries.”

The camp’s goal is to empower students to become effective leaders in their own communities and prepare them for a successful school year.

Refugee Summer Program Coordinator Zeljka Ravlija said many refugee children arrive with interrupted schooling or none at all.

“We want to ensure all students get the right resources and the same chances to succeed,” Ravlija said. “We want to prepare them for a great school year.”

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