Helping Child Refugees Through Soccer

Helping Child Refugees Through Soccer

Luma Mufleh

3.8.2012

Luma Mufleh

Luma Mufleh is the inspirational coach of a soccer team called the Fugees—short for refugees. The players on this team come from 28 war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. An immigrant from Jordan, Mufleh moved to Atlanta a year and a half after graduating from Smith College. The players on this team were dealing with post-traumatic stress issues, language barriers, cultural disconnects and devastating poverty as their economic reality. Mufleh is a social entrepreneur who has created several businesses to gainfully employ refugees and immigrants in her community. In 2004, she created Fresh Start, a cleaning service that pays refugee and immigrant parents a living wage to clean residential and commercial properties. In 2010, she began Queen Food Company, a food truck business employing parents and graduates which focuses on authentic, ethnic street food. Mufleh’s latest endeavor is building the Fugees Academy, the very first school for refugee boys and girls in the US. The Fugees Academy is an unparalleled opportunity to serve boys and girls in grades six through twelve with an intensive college-prep high school curriculum that meets their unique needs as bright and talented young people who came to the U.S. with little English or formal schooling, but the hope of a better life.

Luma Mufleh discusses her nonprofit organization, The Fugees Family, which is devoted to working with child survivors of war by using soccer to provide support and structure. The organization began in 2005 when Mufleh started The Fugees, a soccer team made up of players from 28 war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. Since then, the program has grown to include year-round soccer for 86 boys and girls aged 10 to 18, after-school tutoring and soccer for 50 elementary-aged students, a private academy serving 36 students and an academic enrichment summer camp.