Building a Future #WithRefugees
World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20th every year, encompasses hundreds of celebrations across the world. To keep the events connected, each year’s celebration presents a theme, and this year it is “#WithRefugees” – a call to all of us to show our support for refugees arriving in our communities.
But being #WithRefugees doesn’t just mean today – it means standing with your neighbors to build a better world for future generations. With June, many students across Georgia graduate from high school and look forward to what’s ahead – and dozens of graduates are former refugees with promising futures.
This month, we recognize three of our brightest stars, Mupenzi, Alice, and Meh Sod, all former refugees served by New American Pathways who are heading off to college on full scholarships thanks to hard work and incredible talent.
Originally from Zambia, Mupenzi graduated from Stone Mountain High this year with the goal of becoming a doctor. His dreams became much closer to reality when he received a merit scholarship of $30,000 to attend the prestigious The College of New Jersey. Mupenzi found support in his college search and in building career goals through the New American Pathways’ Vocational Counseling program.
“I need to attend college because it will help me and my family to have a better life in the future,” Mupenzi wrote in a recent scholarship essay. “I believe college will equip me with knowledge and skills that will help me have a good career as well as contribute to society.”
Alice, a Chin refugee from Burma, has been an active member of New American Pathways’ Young Women’s Leadership program throughout her high school career. Alice has always been a leader in her school and community, which led to her receiving not only the HOPE scholarship, but also being named as one of this year’s Gates Millennium Scholars. Provided to only 1,000 students nationwide, the Gates Millennium Scholarship provides full scholarships for undergraduate minority students enrolling in areas where minority students are underrepresented.
Alice plans to study Public Policy at Agnes Scott College, a program she ties directly to her refugee roots. “The challenge and discrimination I experienced in Myanmar motivated me to study Public Policy… I hope to be an effective communicator and representative of my community. Sometimes I imagine myself as the first woman to unite the Chin tribes and successfully establish a common language in Chin State,” she continued.
Alice plans to continue her studies in a master’s program. The Gates scholarship will also provide funding for recipients throughout their college careers, making Alice’s dream a reality.
Meh Sod Paw
Like Alice, Meh Sod is a standout star from our Young Women’s Leadership program. Originally from Burma, Meh Sod is from the Karen refugee population, and has been actively sharing her story since she arrived in the U.S. – once leading a TedX Youth talk about her journey.
Meh Sod is also a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, along with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship. She plans to attend Agnes Scott College where she will study Education.
“I am very passionate about education,” Meh Sod writes. “I have always dreamed of helping children get an education to give them power over their future. Children in some ethnic groups in Burma, such as Karen children like me, have no possibility to attend school. Instead, they struggle every day, helping their families to survive a difficult life in Burma…Their stories would be different if they had education.”
Mupenzi, Alice, and Meh Sod have set their sights on bright futures that will lead them back to serving their communities. They stand #WithRefugees, and we stand with them.