Paper Airplanes: Skype Learning for Syrians

By Team

17th January '18

Cheryl Hagan Paper Airplanes

"My name is Cheryl and I began tutoring with Paper Airplanes in the Spring of 2016. I had just returned from studying abroad in Istanbul, Turkey where I witnessed firsthand the lack of resources and infrastructure that Syrian refugees face. As a former refugee from Sierra Leone, who immigrated to Boston when I was six years old, I know the struggles of trying to learn English, which was my third language. I actually remember not speaking at all in first grade and remembering that struggle made me want to help a fellow refugee through their language journey.

Paper airplanes strives to unlock opportunities with live online language and skills instruction for conflict-affected teens and adults in the Middle East. We are a start-up nonprofit using technology to provide free, virtual, one-on-one language and skills instruction to people affected by conflict. We provide the tools people need to pursue education, secure employment, and ultimately, rebuild their lives. We teach English, Turkish, computer coding for women, and journalism to youth and adults inside of Syria and displaced across the Middle East and North Africa.

Paper Airplanes is working to address needs for skills acquisition, accessible training, and individualized instruction. We use Skype to match volunteer tutors and trainers with these conflict-affected students in the Middle East. Our programs rely on hundreds of volunteers who provide one-on-one personalized instruction. Learners enrolled in our classes receive individual support as they search for scholarships, apply to universities, write CVs, or enter the job market.

After two years of operating as a program on college campuses, Paper Airplanes grew from just 10 pairs of students and tutors to 325 per semester. We’ve served over 1,200 beneficiaries to date, and our work has been featured nationally and internationally.

We have an incredibly dedicated team of people willing to volunteer their time. We are harnessing the widespread volunteering power and interest from American college students who are passionate about tutoring and doing their part to help mitigate the repercussions of the global refugee crisis."

Discover more about Cheryl's journey with Paper Airplanes and their work to refugees, here: