Darelsalam Karama’s family arrived in the United States in 2018 when she was fourteen. In those four years, Darelsalam was placed in many different environments that brought about many challenges. “We started at Thomasville Middle School, and everything was so different from Sudan,” she says. “My native languages are Arabic and Zaghawa, so I went to the newcomer’s school. I was more comfortable there because there were a lot of refugees just like us.”
After just four years since she arrived in the United States, Darelsalam has received a full ride to High Point University.
After six months at the newcomer’s school, Darelsalam’s English was at a level of proficiency that she was able to transfer back now to high school. “Even though English is not my first language, I made my parents proud because I made straight A’s the first semester,” she says.
She points to the motivation and support of her family and her ESL teacher as what carried her to apply for college. “Someone I’ll never forget is Judith, my ESL teacher at High Point Central High School,” Darelsalam says. “I’m very thankful for her. She is a really sweet woman with a great heart.”
Still, even after Darelsalam knew she wanted to apply for college, she wasn’t sure how to proceed. This is where the World Relief Triad team and their Youth Mentoring Program came to light.
“I knew I wanted to go to college by my junior year, but even that felt too late,” Darelsalam says. “It was hard to plan or think about college because I was still learning. But I talked to many people who encouraged me and helped me write my college essay, fill out applications, and apply for scholarships — Mostly, Kyle and Rowan were extremely helpful.”
Kyle Bahm, Youth Mentoring Coordinator for World Relief Triad, says that Rowan Geukgeuzian, High Point University intern at the time, was able to assist Darelsalam where she needed it. “But Darelsalam doesn’t need much help,” Kyle says about Darelsalam. “She’s motivated. She can do things independently, so I just check in and ask if she needs help.”
Kyle speaks about the ease and comfort students like Darelsalam provide him in his work. “When someone is self-motivated, like Darelsalam, and they just need a little bit of guidance, it allows me to focus on others who may need a little more assistance,” he says. “It also encourages the younger siblings and sets an example. That helps me to challenge some of the other families’ oldest children to do the same for their peers and younger siblings.”
Darelsalam speaks of her siblings, and her entire family, as the source of her motivation. “My siblings help to motivate me, and my parents. They didn’t argue or try to change my mind. They are super supportive. I hope my siblings all can go to college as well.”
Darelsalam began her first semester at High Point University only a few weeks ago, now. Currently, she is enrolled as a biology major as she wants to become a family medicine doctor, and will be taking other foundational courses to improve her reading, writing, and time management skills. She is looking forward to working at the community clinic as a volunteer and Bonner Leader, a program at High Point University that “seeks to transform the lives of students as well as their campuses, local communities, and nation by providing access to education and opportunities to serve.”
“It’s really fun for the most part; though I’m learning how to balance my time with working and going to classes,” she says. “I volunteer eight to ten hours a week, but I can also put these hours on my resume, which is good.”
After sharing her journey from Sudan to North Carolina in her college application essay, Darelsalam continues to share her story as a way to possibly inspire those who came from similar situations such as herself. “I just wanted to show where I started, and what my struggles were,” she says. “I hope it encourages others who are in similar situations.”
You can help empower other individuals similar to Darelsalam today. Click the button below to learn more about how you can get involved with our Youth Mentoring Program at World Relief.