Our Work


Refugee women and children living in San Diego County need and deserve more support than they’re currently getting.

Many – if not most – refugee women speak little to no English, don’t have driver’s licenses, aren’t working, and struggle on their own to cope with their past experiences of trauma many months or even years after they arrive in the U.S. Many are isolated and rarely leave their apartments.

At the same time, many refugee children here fall farther and farther behind their classmates every day because the support they need isn’t readily available. Very few of these children speak fluent English, and many spent months or even years without full access to formal education prior to arriving in San Diego.

SCN will work to level the playing field for San Diego’s many refugee women and children through the establishment of a Center for Refugee Women & Children – the first of its kind in a county that has resettled more than 90,000 refugees since 1975.

Please join us in creating an entirely new space for supporting refugee families in our community in an entirely new way – and empowering refugee women and children to put themselves and their families on a path to long-term success.

Our programs

After-school Tutoring

Women at the Wheel

Conversational ESL

Refugee Women’s Club

On-Site Child Care

Our Programs

Conversational ESL

The Syrian Community Network – San Diego offers a weekly conversational ESL class for refugee women.

Refugee women have few opportunities to practice speaking English with native speakers, and most are still beginners in the language, despite spending several hours a day in conventional ESL classes.

This class is meant to complement those traditional ESL courses, allowing women to focus on developing confidence with the language and applying the concepts they learn but rarely use. Classes are kept deliberately small, and we try to offer individual support with 1-on-1 conversation partners.

We provide transportation and child care for women who need it, ensuring that any woman who wants to learn, regardless of her situation, has the opportunity to do so.

Our class is a safe, comfortable space for refugee women to connect with other women, enjoy tea and snacks, and build confidence in their English skills.

Women at the Wheel

The Women at the Wheel program is the first comprehensive driver education program designed specifically for refugee women in San Diego County. Having access to a driver’s license can improve a refugee woman’s life in many tangible ways by providing women with greater access to employment, education, healthcare, and other services. Driving also gives women agency, confidence, and mobility, allowing her to take ownership of her life and feel more at home in San Diego.

Women at the Wheel is comprised of three parts, each of which is intended to help participating refugee women move past common obstacles to getting a driver’s license:

Many refugee women have little to no experience driving in their home countries, and are unfamiliar with the rules, laws, and customs associated with driving in the United States.

Classroom-based driver education directly addresses these challenges by offering culturally competent instruction in the women’s native languages. 

Once participating women have completed the classroom-based portion of the program, we connect them with a driving instructor fluent their native language for behind-the-wheel training.

We cover the full cost of this training, removing a key barrier for many low-income refugee women who can’t afford to pay for driving lessons.

Case management plays a key role in getting each participating woman through the program from start to finish. We help with scheduling and appointments for classes, behind-the-wheel trainings and driving tests at the DMV.  We work to ensure that every refugee woman reaches her goal of getting a driver’s license, gaining the independence and access to opportunity that she deserves.

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Contact Us

Mailing Address:
Syrian Community Network (SCN)

5439 Broadway Avenue, 
Chicago, Illinois, 60640