• Our Youth Program fosters greater understanding between youth, and supports English language growth for impacted high school students.

  • Our Goals

    • To help conflict-affected high school students master the English language to increase access to future opportunities.
    • To develop compassion in high school students by connecting them with peers from different cultures and backgrounds.
    • To provide a platform for conflict-affected high school students to express themselves.
  • How It Works



    English-speaking high school students are matched individually to conflict-affected high school students to tutor them in English online.



    Peer Tutors receive a trauma information training and language curriculum and guidelines on interacting with program students.



    Peer tutors meet the program students virtually for an hour each week, and also meet with other peer tutors to reflect on their experiences, which are shared across schools through outreach efforts.

  • FAQs

    Why high schoolers?

    We are aiming to reach high school youth because these are the individuals that are at a critical juncture in forming their world views, and this unique opportunity will expand their views by connecting with someone that has vastly different experiences.

    When do peer tutors meet with students?

    Peer tutors and students meet virtually at a time convenient to both. Due to the time difference between different countries, pairs often choose mornings, evenings or weekends.

    How often do tutors and students meet?

    Peer tutors are expected to meet with their assigned student for an hour each week. This can also be split into two half hour sessions.

    Do tutors need to know Arabic?

    No. Most impacted and selected students already have some English-speaking abilities.

    Is there a set curriculum?

    Tutors are trained and provided with curriculum materials, including test-specific materials. However, training is customized to each student's goals. Often, students have specific goals such as test-prep (TOEFL/ IELTS/ SAT), or just improving spoken English. Tutors curate specific lesson plans for their student, but the curriculum provides structure and resources.

    What are the requirements of high schools wishing to tutor?

    Schools must have at least seven committed peer tutors. These peer tutors must be in an organized group, such as a club that may or may not be specific to Paper Airplanes, or participate as part of a class. Peer tutors must meet at least once every two weeks.

  • Letters from our schools

    "My name is Bouthina and I am from Syria, working as an English teacher in Reyhanli, Turkey in the 'Ataa School. Out of school I work as a volunteer to help Syrian women mentally and spiritually. We hold medical, psychological, social and education session for women in the community with the goal of helping and empowering them"

    Letters from our schools

    "I'm trying to do my best despite the difficult circumstances that we face to teach young girls English. Recently, the Turkish government forced us to replace our English classes with Turkish classes, which has made it very difficult for us to teach English to our students."


  • Program Spotlight: Two Participating High Schools

    This year, volunteers from 8 high schools globally are serving over 100 MENA-region students.

    Ward Melville High School

    Long Island, New York

    In the pilot year of the Youth Exchange Program, ten high school students from Ward Melville High School were matched with ten Syrian students. They each met once a week on Skype, discussing their lives, their dreams and everything in between. In the spring, the high school raised over $1,000 to purchase tablets for their students' classroom.

    The 'Ataa School

    Hatay, Turkey

    The 'Ataa School is an independently-run Syrian school in Reyhanli, Turkey that is addressing the lack of educational access for over 2,000 Syrian students.

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