FORT BLISS – Running around aimlessly playing, laughing, and fist bumping soldiers is how most young Afghan evacuees spent their time at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico before Nabila, also an Afghan evacuee, started a school for children to learn and to help them focus on their future.
“We have been here for about a month, and I’ve seen the kids just walking around and not studying,” said Nabila. “I was worried about them and told them to come study.”
With the help of linguist support at Doña Ana, Nabila founded a portable school for Afghan evacuees to help them adjust and better prepare for the U.S. school system to improve their quality of life.
In addition to breaking language barriers and helping teach the children, translators have also contributed supplies to help them study.
By coming to America, Afghan evacuees are in search of a better life. Nabila continues to work with translators to create an environment where evacuees feel comfortable and confident in becoming a part of American society.
“It has grown from about four or five students to roughly 100 students throughout the day,” said Capt. Elliott Newton, the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. “They have a couple different classes for children and one for adult women.”
Before the school was created, children would play throughout the day and became bored. Nabila says she came up with the idea of starting a school while homeschooling her own kids.
Before arriving in the United States, some children attended public schools while others were homeschooled. Some even began learning English before arriving, but for others this is their first time.
During these classes children learn their colors, numbers and days of the week in English.
“The children have more direction in life,” said Newton. “They are very excited to come to class each day and continue to learn.”
Nabila says that the children’s motivation is to better their lives after coming from a war-torn country. They are excited for the time they are allowed to leave the Doña Ana Complex and learn everything that the U.S. has to offer.
“I just want to make sure our guests are set up for success as they go into the United States,” said Newton. “That families are taken care of and they have the best quality of life that they can.”