In the summer of 2013, Bailey Ulbricht spent two months volunteering in Reyhanli, Turkey, a small town on the Turkish-Syrian border, where she met dozens of young college-aged Syrian students desperate to complete their university degrees despite the conflict in Syria. She began Skyping a few of them to help them practice English, and soon, other young Syrian refugees were reaching out to her to request English lessons. Bailey realized she could ask people in her network to volunteer tutoring, and found 10 tutors from her alma mater, Carleton College, to join her in the first Paper Airplanes English language program in June 2014.
Paper Airplanes continued to grow, and in December 2016, Paper Airplanes received official nonprofit status in the United States. In January 2017, the team expanded to include 25 staff members, and as of June 2019 we have an active staff of 20+, many of whom are former students and tutors.
Our Mission is to Enable Learning Continuity
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 1% of refugee youth attend university, compared to 34% of youth around the world. Paper Airplanes helps these students complete their education, while also empowering them with skills for gainful employment.
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