Who we are

By refugees, for refugees.

Fugees Family is a national nonprofit organization that partners with public school districts and communities to better serve refugee and immigrant students.

Rooted in 20 years of experience in newcomer education, our whole-school model, Teranga Academy, incorporates full-day English immersion, music and arts therapy, yoga, martial arts, soccer team participation, and wraparound family engagement supports in a trauma-informed setting that celebrates student’s culture and identity.

Founded by Luma Mufleh, a Jordanian immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of Syrian refugees, Fugees started as a soccer team and after-school program after Luma encountered a group of young refugees outside of an Atlanta apartment complex. They named their team the Fugees, wearing their identity as a badge of pride and resilience.

Seeing the challenges these children faced off the soccer field, Luma – herself the daughter and granddaughter of Syrian refugees –  was motivated by her grandmother’s advice:

“Don’t feel sorry for refugees – believe in them.”

The Fugees quickly grew into an after-school program, a summer camp, a support network, and ultimately a school, our flagship Fugees Academy in Atlanta.

Today, the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School (GFACS) is a tuition-free, community-based public charter school serving refugee and immigrant students ages 10- 19 from nearly 40 countries.

After two decades of refining our approach in charter and private school settings, Fugees has brought our innovative model to public school districts and built newcomer programs that not only get students on track academically, but instill the confidence and sense of belonging that allows students to fully participate in their communities.

With successful newcomer programs in public school districts in Ohio and Kentucky, we’re expanding our partnerships nationwide to ensure America’s fastest-growing student population has the skills, opportunities, and confidence they need to thrive.

Learn more about the Fugees story in Luma’s books, Learning America and From Here!

“Creating safe spaces for refugee and immigrant students to learn the fundamentals isn’t coddling them or sheltering them from the real world – it’s about instilling a self-confidence that primes them for growth.”

Being a Fugee means being part of a team.

Learning a new language, adjusting to a new country, and getting on track academically is hard work. 

On and off the soccer field, our newcomer students are part of a team. A team that shares similar lived experiences, backgrounds, and goals. On the field, students don’t have to explain themselves – it’s a time to play, laugh, and connect.

All kids deserve to have fun every single day.

That’s why we also integrate music, arts, yoga, and martial arts into the school day, so our students can express themselves freely and bring their full selves to school every day. These subjects are multisensory and often less stressful for students, allowing them to acquire and practice language skills in a different environment.

Students are also each assigned a House – a group of students that serve as one another’s “home base” – that give students a place to belong, a sense of team pride, and a system of support and accountability. 

At Fugees Family, everybody has something important to contribute, and everyone’s wins – big or small – are worth celebrating.