indy public schools immigrant language programs

Mastora Bakhiet in the IndyStar and ChalkBeat

The Indystar recently published an article on how recent immigrants families and their struggle with adapting and adjusting to schools. Our own Mastora Bakhiet was featured in the article, discussing her own experiences of her life in American and how she is working with Indianapolis Public Schools in developing a program to help children adjust to their new lives in American schools.

Bakhiet, also the executive director and founder of the non-profit Darfur Women Network, mentioned a long list of problems immigrant families could have, simply because of cultural differences. For starters, many people struggle to figure out what’s actually in American food, and food labels are no help, Bakhiet said. For people like Bakhiet whose religion requires her to abstain from eating certain foods, this was challenging.

In developing the program Mastora referenced her own experiences as a new immigrant, and wanted to parlay those positive experiences to others facing a similar situation as she and her family did when she first came to  America.

Bakhiet said much of her own success adapting to America came from the help of others, such as an ESL teacher in Ohio. The teacher bought her daughter her first coat, a blue and purple Columbia brand, and would drive the family places when they needed it.She thinks the newcomer school could provide those same benefits for other immigrants in IPS. “I walked in their shoes,” Bakhiet said. “Families are my passion.”

The Chalkbeat article covers same topic of immigrant immersion into the IPS school system. as discussed in the Indystar article.