GirlForward is a millennial-women led organization that provides a community of support for girls who have been displaced by war, conflict and persecution. Many of the girls in the program come from traumatic backgrounds; prior to arriving the United States their lives were filled with violence and uncertainty. Even once they safely arrive in the U.S., they often find themselves intimidated by school, a new lifestyle and an unfamiliar language.
GirlForward helps make them feel at home again.
“[At GirlForward] I finally found this light that I was looking for,” beams Fatima, a 19-year-old former refugee from Afghanistan. For Fatima, joining GirlForward was transformative. She made an immediate connection with her mentor and her confidence began to grow as she met other young refugee girls and found a safe space to practice her English.
GirlForward serves refugee, immigrant and asylum-seeking girls ages 14 to 21 through three core programs. During the pandemic, GirlForward has continued providing support for girls by making their mentoring and tutoring programs virtual.
GirlForward’s safe spaces program provides safe places for girls to explore their identities, connect with other girls and access the resources they need. When it is safe to gather in person, the program includes drop-in hours after school during which girls can use hang-out spaces, books, laptops, snacks, and more, as well as participate in a variety of workshops.
GirlForward’s mentorship program pairs girls with mentors to engage in "4W" activities—wellness, wisdom, wallet and world. Girls are paired with women mentors within the local community based on commonalities like family background, faith and future aspirations. They meet weekly to talk about anything from school to relationships to careers. This program helps girls explore their passions and prepares them to graduate from high school.
The education program at GirlForward provides a space for girls to build their English skills and succeed academically. The program has two components: Camp GirlForward—a literacy-based summer program that explores the themes of identity, community and power through classroom instruction and field trips—and tutoring—a program through which girls can work with tutors on their homework.
The importance of GirlForward and its role in changing young lives is reflected in the success of the participants in the program. “One thing I tell other girls about GirlForward is it’s an amazing program that is going to make you strong, it's going to make you brave, it's going to make you ready to accomplish your goals,” says Fatima.
Here’s how you can help…
Help support refugee girls in emergency situations and after they have been safely resettled in the United States by becoming USA for UNHCR’s newest monthly donor. Your monthly contribution will help provide everything from food and hygiene kits to educational opportunities for young refugees around the world.