Outcasts United By Aaron H

Outcasts United Expository Essay

Have you ever thought about how fortunate you are to live a life of safety, satisfaction and equality? I certainly didn’t, until I read Outcasts United, a story about a group of refugee boys brought together by their love for soccer. This book, written by Warren St. John, is about a young Jordanian woman named Luma Mufleh and her journey to make a refugee soccer team in the small southern town of Clarkston, Georgia. After reading Outcasts United I learned about why the refugees left, how they were forced to adapt and how the Fugees brought them together. It’s important to learn the miserable things refugees go through before you can truly understand who they are.

Refugees don’t simply choose to leave their country. They’re forced out by war, violence and persecution. Many of them, especially children, are in danger of death and only a select few get the chance to start a new life. Currently “60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced and less than 0.1% will get the chance to start a new life” (Everyone. Everywhere. Equal Value.). That means out of the 30,000 people flee that their country each day less than 30 succeed in starting a new life. Some major suppliers of refugees include Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria. As a matter of fact over half of the refugees today come from one of these 3 countries. Reasons why people flee their country vary from murder, war, terrorism, politics and many other things. Many refugees see members of their family die and their village torn apart. Parents and children are running. Each day 110 innocent children flee to the U.S. They’re left helpless, homeless and hopeless. Running in danger, “they risk life and limb… abuse and abduction… and severe conditions” (Everyone. Everywhere. Equal Value). They travel an average of 1400 miles until they finally reach the U.S. border where most of them are turned back without question. As you can see refugees today have little hope left. The majority of them are stopped somewhere along the path to freedom. They’re treated with little to no human dignity. Adults and children alike are trying to flee countries wrought with disparity but they are continually stopped.

United Nations Refugee Camp

For refugees, arriving in America is only the first step towards a successful life. After their arrival they are forced to adapt to a new country, culture and lifestyle; all while dealing with negative things such as poverty and racism. According to Global Citizen the top three challenges refugees face are speaking and learning English, raising children and helping them to succeed in school and securing work. Without being able to understand English it is very tough to do everyday tasks such getting employed, making friends or even just buying food. Another major difficulty refugee parents face is raising their kids to succeed. Refugees kids are quickly “Americanized” often causing them to lose important parts of their own culture which their family may highly value. This could possibly hurt the families relationship. Also refugee children often struggle in school because their placed by their age rather than their ability. It’s even more difficult for them to succeed if they’re unable to speak or understand English. To make matters worse million of refugees are discriminated each day. “Discrimination has been linked to physical health conditions including hypertension, self-reported poor health and breast cancer, as well as risk factors for disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure and substance use.” (Stark, Lindsay). These constant pressures cause only 0.3% of refugees get the chance to start a new life. This shows how incredibly difficult America really is. Not only do we not properly help these refugees we also try to discriminate them. Between adapting and avoiding discrimination it seems impossible for refugees to live the American dream.

Refugees Learning English

The refugees lucky enough to live in America and to adapt to the new country are faced with one final hurdle; fitting in. It’s difficult for many refugees to fit in because of their cultural differences. However the Fugees is a great program for many of these refugee kids trying to fit into their new country. It allows them to have fun and bond while doing something they love. The Fugees program was started in 2004 by a Jordanian woman named Luma Mufleh. On her way home from a grocery store she missed her turn and noticed a group of refugee boys playing soccer. She was interested so she came back later that week with a soccer ball and eventually she made a team called the Fugees. After she began coaching she realized that the kids needs went beyond the soccer field. Luma began tutoring them after practice and eventually in 2007 she started a Fugees academy. The Fugees continues today and has helped over 850 refugees from 28 countries. This program has healed the refugees while increasing their knowledge and soccer skills. “The results are impressive. Fugees has just graduated its first senior class—of three. All are headed to four-year colleges. The bigger picture is even brighter. The Southern Association of Independent Schools found the following: ‘By the end of 7th grade, Fugees average a 75% increase in their National Percentile Rank, while their peers at public school in the community average a 2% decrease in their NPR. Between 7th and 8th grade, Fugees average a 41% increase in NPR while their peers average a 3% increase. … 90% of Fugees students will be first generation middle school graduates, and 100% the first in their families to graduate from high school.’...Luma has been as successful a soccer coach as she’s been a school leader. In 2016, the Fugees male varsity team had an undefeated (14–0) record, losing only in the state championship game to a two-time defending champion.” (From Fugees to Americans: Fugees Academy). As you can see this program is truly incredible because it has helped refugees from around the world to unite and prosper.

Fugees Academy

Although refugees are forced to leave their countries they are given a chance for a better life. They struggle to adapt but with the help of others they can become part of something bigger. Despite many people's efforts millions of refugees still suffer from things such as poverty and racism. They are left without a home, food and most importantly love. Yet they still hold onto a small sliver of hope that someday they will have a better life.

Works Cited

"The 7 Biggest Challenges Facing Refugees and Immigrants in the US." Global Citizen. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/the-7-biggest-challenges-facing-refugees-and-immig/>.

Angley, Natalie. "Refugees Find Hope on Soccer Field, Classroom." CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/21/us/gif-luma-mufleh/>.

Bus and Fugees. Digital image. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://www.atlantamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/03/0317_fugees01_dchambers_oneuseonly.jpg>.

"Everyone. Everywhere. Equal Value." U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://refugees.org/>.

"From Refugees to Americans: Fugees Academy." Manhattan Institute. 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.

Fugees Education. Digital image. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/161124190744-02-02-26362-007-0372-cc-super-169.jpg>.

Fugees Family. Digital image. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ov9WcsHtaBs/Uqi4q-9F9EI/AAAAAAAAFKw/GVzi5KksL1c/s1600/Fugee+Kids.jpg>.

Fugees Family Logo. Digital image. Web. <http://cansoccersavetheworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fugeesfamily.jpg>.

Fugeesfamily. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <http://www.fugeesfamily.org/about-us>.

Klairmont, Laura. "Helping Refugee Kids Find Their Footing in the U.S." CNN. Cable News Network, 10 June 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/14/us/cnnheroes-luma-mufleh-soccer-fugees/>.

Luma Teaching Refugees. Digital image. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://www.ajc.com/rf/image_large//Pub/p7/AJC/2016/11/23/Images/newsEngin.16909833_102112_luma_3.jpg?uuid=QgfkaLGiEeaai-UTSR9-nw>.

Mathema, Silva. "Defending an American Tradition, Communities Welcome Syrian Refugees." Center for American Progress. 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2017/01/27/297378/defending-an-american-tradition-communities-welcome-syrian-refugees/>.

Stark, Lindsay. "The High Cost of Refugee Discrimination." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-stark/the-high-cost-of-refugee-_b_9017842.html>.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Figures at a Glance." UNHCR. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <http://www.unhcr.org/en-ie/figures-at-a-glance.html>.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Figures at a Glance." UNHCR. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

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Aaron H
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