By Dion Lim
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) — As the refugee crisis in Afghanistan continues, a group of young people in the Bay Area are doing their part of helping refugees from many different countries learn English with the goal of making more “Buddies without Borders”.
At noontime on Saturdays 17-year old Krikor Kevranian, a senior at Design Tech High School in Redwood City, can be found Zooming with another 17-year old, half a world away.
“His name is Mahdi and since last school year I’ve been talking to him on a weekly basis,” says Kevranian, who goes by “Koko” for short. Koko founded the Buddies Without Borders club at the school which helps connect his classmates with refugees from around the globe. Madhi is a refugee from Afghanistan now living in Greece.
At first Koko admits, he had reservations about helping Mahdi learn English.
“I was nervous. What are we going to talk about? What if we don’t like each other? What if it’s awkward between us?” Despite his worries, Koko still wanted to help because of the struggles his own immigrant parents experienced coming to America from Armenia and his great-grandparent’s challenges as refugees who survived the Armenian Genocide and sought refuge in Syria.