Children from Refugee Backgrounds Explore Hardships and Joy in Writing Workshop

GW professor Jihae Cha hosts a storytelling camp to give youth with refugee backgrounds a chance to navigate their identity and sense of belonging.

July 5, 2023

Clarkston, a small town near Atlanta, has gained the nickname “the Ellis Island of the South” due to the many refugees who have found a home there after fleeing war, political persecution or other humanitarian crises.

Today half of the city's 14,000 residents are foreign-born and hail from over 50 countries across six continents. 

The city has become a special place for Jihae Cha, an assistant professor of international education at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

For the past decade, Cha has focused much of her research on education in emergencies and protracted crises with the goal of exploring both challenges and opportunities that exist in education for youth in exile.  

In 2017, Cha first heard about Clarkston’s efforts to assist families newly resettled in the United States. Curious, she headed to the city. Cha said when she goes into the field to conduct research, she doesn’t always go in with research questions or a specific agenda in mind. Especially in this case, Cha wanted to let the people she met define the story. 

Read the full story on GW Today >