A group of Carleton College grads is raising money to help fund a nonprofit that aims teach Syrian students English over Skype.
The organization is called Paper Airplanes, and it works to match Syrian students in the Middle East and Europe with personal tutors – for free – so they can learn things like English and get professional skills training.
The group's goal is to empower those who are affected by conflict through education, noting in the current political climate "we are an organization that is making a difference not just in the lives of our Syrian students, but our tutors."
The nonprofit was founded a few years ago by Bailey Ulbricht, who played soccer at Carleton College. She got the idea for Paper Airplanes after volunteering in the Middle East, where she met a bunch of Syrian students who wanted to finish their education. When she got back to the U.S., she would Skype with them so they could practice their English, Paper Airplanes' website says.
It didn't take long for Syrian students who Ulbricht didn't know to contact her hoping to learn English. And eventually, she recruited volunteers to help run the program.
Paper Airplanes got its nonprofit status in December, and now it's looking for more funding. The group has a GoFundMe goal of $10,000, which will go towards paying three part-time staff members, and fund at least 10 English-language exams "for some of our most promising students" in the Middle East.
As of Friday afternoon, the group has raised more than $8,000 towards its goal.
You can learn more about what Paper Airplanes does, and hear stories from who the group has helped, in the video below.