Higher Education For Newcomers

$1,065 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 20 people in 14 months
Created December 2, 2017
I was born in Assala, Ethiopia. It was a small, poverty-stricken village where we had limited access to education. I remember when I was around the age of seven, I had to walk three plus miles just to get to school. I went to a large public school called Chefe Public School, where 100 plus students were in one classroom. Being able to receive a great education in my home country was as if you had won the lottery. At an early age, I learned that my education is something that can empower, and help people reach their goals. I dreamed of being able to learn in a small classroom where I could actually get to know the teacher and the students well. I couldn’t conceive of the idea that education can be taken lightly.

On May 28th, 2012, I was able to come to Portland, Oregon and finally received a coveted American education that I wouldn’t take for granted. School wasn’t easy for me. I could not speak or read English, and it was difficult to understand my teachers and fellow students. I would often cry and plead with my mom to let me stay home from school because I felt left out at school. However, she never allowed me to stay home, even when I was ill. In class, I would usually sit in the back row to avoid questions from my teachers.

Things got even harder when my mother severely injured her right hand, which prevented her from earning money for several months. We did not have enough money for food and clothing. It was sorrowful to see her in such agony. These hardships made it difficult for me to focus on schoolwork because I was always thinking about what I could do to help my mother. However, I came to realize that I must focus on my studies and receive a good education; otherwise, I could be in the same position as my mom someday. I began to seek opportunities to improve my English skills and position myself for a successful future. I began to read books, study harder, and joined a soccer team, which gave me the confidence to express myself.  

I remember I heard about the science bowl competition, and I went to tell my teacher to sign me up for the competition, but she could not understand me. I took her to the announcement board and pointed at the poster; she chuckled a little and said, “Make sure you come to practice tomorrow.” My two teammates and I ended up winning the BPA Science Bowl Robotic Competition, which again boosted my confidence. As my confidence increased, my life struggles did not seem so large. I began to sit closer to the front of the classroom, and began participating in more class discussions. A year later, I received the Young Gifted and Black Award from Portland Public Schools for my perseverance and dedication.

After all my challenges, I came to realize that I am not just a refugee, but I am a student with endless potential to succeed. Throughout my life, I’ve developed a sense of resilience that would not let me fall apart due to the difficulties.I will be a first generation college student. I will attend Georgetown University in the fall of 2018.


There are many immigrant and refugee students who are highly motivated, but they don’t have resources to help them achieve their academic and personal goals. Most teachers aren’t offering extra time to help them to better understand English. When new coming students enter school, they are completely excluded from the rest of the students because they can’t speak, read, or understand English. Learning English takes them longer because they aren’t comfortable speaking freely and they get scared of being laughed at. I understand the challenge of adjusting to the American school systems, therefore, I created an organization, Hope For A Bright Future, which provides refugee and immigrant students with free school supplies, tutoring, and motivational speeches.

My goal is to inspire young, new incoming students who are already disadvantaged to overcome their struggles and rise above to attain success. One way I have contributed is make motivational videos for other students. I made one video with Felix Songolo, “Ten Tips on How to Integrate to the U.S. School System Successfully”, that is now used by schools across the country. I also created a video for teachers with the help of Refugee Center Online, that can help them learn how to assist new immigrant and refugee students to ease their transition into the United States schools. I believe education is essential for young people. I have collected more than a thousand school supplies, and I helped more than 200 immigrant and refugee students so far. Many of their parents do not speak English and are unable to assist their children with college essays and scholarship applications; therefore, I am currently leading a team raising funds to hire tutors that will assist students prepare for college. The donation goes to "Hope For A Bright Future" to create college and scholarship essay workshop on Saturdays for 20 refugees students, who are from the Middle East, with the help of Refugee Center Online and Portland Refugee Support Group. Your contribution will help new incoming students to achieve their goals. our goal is to empower refugees  and immigrants through education. 


http://parentingtogetherwc.org/10-tips-success-school-refugee-immigrant-students/

https://www.catholicsentinel.org/Content/Parish-School-Life/Parish-and-School/Article/De-La-Salle-student-collecting-school-supplies-for-immigrant-students/5/30/34027

https://therefugeecenter.org/

http://www.pdxrsg.org/what-we-do.html


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$1,065 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 20 people in 14 months
Created December 2, 2017
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TZ
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Tricia Zigrang
9 months ago
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Athena Harrison
11 months ago
MC
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Joy Soares
14 months ago
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14 months ago
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