Creating Pathways From Conflict To Education
To create a network of refugee mentors and multidisciplinary experts using storytelling to bridge experiential and formal language learning and help students re-write the story of their lives.
Nomad School’s mission is to empower community-based teachers of refugee children to minimize the residual effects of trauma and accelerate literacy development. To accomplish this we create communities of practice and learning that bring together refugee mentors and multidisciplinary experts to support local refugee teachers; our learning model emphasizes peer-to-peer sharing and learning as critical components of the communities of practice and learning. Through our partnership with educators from displaced populations, we use language learning methods responsive to refugee students’ experiences and diverse needs to ensure all learners gain critical building blocks of literacy. The goal of our work is to transform student trauma into effective learning while directly supporting educators in extremely complex conflict-affected environments to increase literacy outcomes and support development of healthy individuals and communities.
Nomad Schools was founded in 2013 to address the need for more effective community-based literacy development solutions for vulnerable populations. The name 'Nomad' pays tribute to the ingenious ways nomadic communities maximize scarce resources without overburdening the fragile systems they encounter in their journey. Like these communities, Nomad aims to find resource efficient ways for displaced communities and community workers to help their children and young adults overcome their difficult and often traumatic lived realities via education pathways that lead them back to formal schooling. We began this journey by working with community workers and adult ESL students in New Orleans to overcome language barriers with our customized ESL MP3 Tool Kit. Using the lessons learned, we realized that, while mobile technology helped our students bridge education access challenges, there was a greater need for a person-to-person approach beyond basic content instruction. As our pilot became a self-organizing learning environment (SOLE), we realized how effective peer educators could be in meeting the social and emotional needs of immigrant and displaced communities. We began developing specialized training that could build on the unique strengths and needs of community workers/volunteers who often serve as educators in emergency situations and community programs. This light-bulb moment sent us down a path of research, fieldwork and partnerships with academics, humanitarian workers and grassroots organizations who helped us understand the needs of emergency settings and displaced communities leading to the development of our 'Community Educators Training Program'. This program aims to address the scarcity of educators in emergency environments by helping train community workers to guide their out of school students past their trauma and daily hardships towards literacy, skills developments and integration into host country school systems . We are currently partnered with Jusoor to train teachers in refugee camps in Lebanon and are working with other domestic and international partners to develop customized training and resource development solutions for refugee communities in various parts of the world.