Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America

Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America

The mission of the Chicago-based nonprofit tutoring organization is to ensure that refugee families are provided access to an education sufficient to prepare them to become economically self-sufficient and robustly engaged in American civic life.

Chuck Berman

Easing the Transition into the American Educational System

Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America



FORA was established in 2019 to address an urgent and pervasive issue: newly arrived refugee children enter the United States with little-to-no knowledge of the English language and little-to-no literacy in their primary language. As a result, many refugee children enter the American educational system with academic capabilities far below their age-determined grade level, unable to read in any language or perform basic math skills. English as a second language (ESL) programs in the United States are not designed for wholly illiterate students; thus, the students that FORA serves might otherwise be left behind academically and become socially isolated from their peers.

FORA operates a learning center in Chicago that provides resources to support refugee children and their families throughout their American educational process. The learning center hosts lessons for each student for two hours a day, five days per week, and each tutor is paired with no more than two students to maximize the personalized nature of the lessons. FORA tutors also directly collaborate with each student's teachers to assist in the completion of appropriate homework assignments and determine which assignments are beyond the student's current ability level. Additionally, FORA offers programs for mothers to learn to read and write in English.

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