Editor’s Note – Quench, Summer 2017

The subject of this issue, Citizens of the World, leads me directly to an issue I am passionate about – working with refugee girls who come to the US from a number of war- torn nations. Atlanta, and more specifically the small town of Clarkston, GA, is a hubbub of refugee activity. Chosen in the early 2000s by the International Rescue Committee as one of the best places in the US to send refugees (due to a large stock of vacant garden apartments), Clarkston has boomed into a fascinating, diverse refuge for people from all over the world. All of these people struggle to learn a new language, and a new, overwhelmingly abundant way of life.

Early on, it was noticed by a group of volunteers teaching young teens English on Saturdays that the girls were reticent, less likely to ask questions, and more likely to fall behind. Statistics in the public schools backed that up – refugee girls from countries in which women are subservient were dropping out at record rates. These volunteers in GA decided that changing their focus to intensively tutoring young women in English was the wisest (and most asked for by the families) course of action.

Thus, the Global Village Project was born. Global Village is now an accredited girl’s middle school, with a team of wonderful teachers and volunteer tutors who work with the girls every day. Tuition is free. Every girl is assigned a mentor, who helps her throughout the rest of her schooling and often helps the entire family navigate our complex American system – from paying rent, to filing taxes, to buying their first car.

My mentee, Ehsoe Moo, comes from Myanmar – a country she has never seen, as she was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her people, the Karen, are being ethnically cleansed from their homeland. It has been my great pleasure and privilege to work with Ehsoe and her family. Such hard-working future Americans impress me daily. They are now homeowners with full-time jobs, contributing mightily by working in a chicken processing plant – a job average Americans don’t want to do. This summer, five years will have passed and citizenship is around the corner. Ehsoe is a junior in a competitive high school with straight A’s. We are college shopping!

Success stories like this are woven into the fabric of America. I pray that we continue to cherish each and every one of the threads that make up that beautiful tapestry we are lucky enough to call home.

Wishing you the best, always.

– Robbin Marcus




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