A University of Texas graduate student is calling for more Arabic speaking tutors to help an influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria at Austin Independent School District.
Dana El Kurd volunteers twice a week at Anderson High School and said the students she helps are struggling to adjust to a new culture and language.
“There are students who have been in refugee camps for five or six years waiting for this kind of official permission,” El Kurd said.
Part of the problem she said is that the majority of the classes the refugee students attend are in English. “Nobody speaks Arabic and a lot of them are kind of lost,” El Kurd said.
Many consider dropping out because of the lack of support and on top of that, El Kurd said refugee students report they are also being bullied. “I don’t think that a lot of their peers know where they are coming from so they are calling them things like ISIS and these people are escaping ISIS so it’s very difficult for them,” she said.