Many refugees come into our city with little to no education, little to no English language skills and little to no job skills. The culture and everyday life skills in America are very different to them creating additional challenges. There are ways we can help which involves teaching refugees a variety of basic skills. If you speak English, have an education and have lived in America, you probably have the skills necessary to help us help them. Surprisingly, we have had clients enter in to our American Life and Language Classes that have never held a pencil before and it’s truly exciting when they can finally write out the letters in their name in the correct order and on the lines. America has a lot of paper formalities which requires us to sign our name on doctors forms, immigration forms, housing and lease agreements, job applications, bank records, etc. Our paperwork processes also require us to have an understanding of many written policies, regulations, agreements, forms and financial responsibilities. Having a basic level of understanding in the areas listed below will help our clients tremendously. Asha’s Refuge has a goal to teach these skills. We need your help. If could help lead teach or tutor (provide one on one or one with two client tutoring following along in a class as a lead teacher teaches) in any of the areas we have listed, please complete our volunteer application. You may also contact our volunteer coordinator, Deborah Eaton at .
English Language & Handwriting For Adults
Refugee woman receiving help learning english

American Life & Language Classes

Asha’s Refuge holds English Conversation Classes at Highland Heights Baptist Church in the Binghampton area from 10-12:30 am each Thursday. We have a van that picks up refugees with their preschoolers at 9am and takes them to class.

Many of the adult refugees have never had the opportunity to be educated. Before entering into America, most lived in refugee camps. Many of them were born in the refugee camps where their daily routine was very different from what they are expected to be able to do once they are here in America. Most of our friends have never had to pay bills, go to school, take care of a house, complete paper documents or drive a car. Most of our friends do not speak English. Learning the English language takes a lot of practice and time. Successfully resettling in America for each refugee comes with a lot of challenges. Our Asha’s Refuge volunteer teachers work with each refugee to help build their English vocabulary, handwriting and reading skills and their confidence in everyday English conversation.

Refugee learning from volunteer to write in English Asha's Refuge volunteer teaching an English class to Refugees Refugee learning to write in English

While working with the adult refugees, we are often asked to help our friends with many additional needs such as: completing forms and applications, registering their children or themselves in school, understanding their bills, understanding the bus system, making appointments or visiting the doctor. Our Asha’s Refuge volunteer teaching staff works together to also encourage refugees to build on the skills they already know such as sewing, cooking, gardening, jewelry making or art. There is often class time taken to teach refugees a new craft or help them to better understand things like our American culture, job and social skills, apartment living, good hygiene and various life skills. The English Conversation Classes allow us a great opportunity to practice English skills in a very practical way.
Kindergarten Readiness for Preschoolers

Kindergarten Readiness

Asha's Refuge previously had a Kindergarten Readiness program that met twice a week. With the Shelby County Schools now providing Pre-K to all children 3 and 4 years old, we encourage our clients to enroll children in the 5 day a week school programs designed to prepare children for Kindergarten and teach them English vocabulary and American life which are much needed for a child now living in the US. Asha's Refuge assists clients with the enrollment process of their preschooler as needed.

Refugee learning from volunteer to write in English Asha's Refuge volunteer teaching an English class to Refugees Refugee learning to write in English
Job Skills

Career Coaching / Job Skills

We need volunteers who are willing to coach newcomers through the processes of applying for and interviewing for jobs. Volunteers will be willing to search for jobs that would be suitable for our clients, help them apply for the job which often means completing online applications, learning to dress appropriately for the interview and coaching them on how the interview process may go as far as the typical way Americans interview for jobs. Career Coach Volunteers will help Asha’s Refuge to better develop this area of our organization to the benefit of our clients.
Arts, Cooking & Crafts

Arts / Cooking / Crafts

Americans often have different hobbies than refugees. We want to introduce new hobbies to our clients or help to develop the hobbies they already have. Many times, the development of a hobby could end up starting a microbusiness that will help to provide for their family or supplement their monthly income. Even if the hobby does not bring in extra income, it is good for our clients to have hobbies so that their free time is spent doing things productive which can sometimes help to reduce stress. Examples of Hobbies: Arts/Crafts, Sewing, gardening, fishing, wood working, etc.
Managing Household Bills

Managing Household Bills

Many of our clients do not have English skills. They also do not have the American Life skills necessary to understand a lot of their mail. For example, if a newcomer were to receive a letter in the mail telling them that their light, gas and water was going to be “cut-off”, they may toss the letter to the side not realizing what this means. When their utilities are cut off it sends them into a panic. With no English skills to understand their mail and no American Life Skills to understand the processes we would typically go through to solve this life’s little problem, they are often put into an emotional crisis mode. We can help by encouraging our friends to understand the importance of trying to read and understand their mail. We need volunteers who are willing to make friends with our clients helping them to understand and organize their mail and important household papers better. Someone who has good organizational skills and can teach refugees a filing system to manage their bills and papers is needed.
Basic Computer Skills

Computer Classes

Asha’s Refuge holds basic computer classes to our refugee friends who are interested in learning how to use the internet and basic software programs. We are so thankful to a local company, Cornerstone Systems, who allows us to share their computer training room to hold these classes! The computer classes will allow refugee men and women to be coached in completing applications, registration and other important forms. We will need volunteers to help us support this program by assisting in teaching or assisting our computer teacher/trainer. If you are interested in helping us, please let us know.

Refugees learning basic computer skills together. Instructor teaches refugees how to use a computer