June 20, 2012 is World Refugee Day. Refugees are defined under international law as being outside their home country and having a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Since 1980, 1.8 million refugees have been invited to live in the United States - typically between 40,000 to 75,000 each year. From 2008-10, the U.S. Department of State recorded the resettlement of over 18,000 adolescent refugee girls. Once resettled, girls face overwhelming responsibilities and social isolation compared with boys. Poverty, language, and their responsibilities at home make it extremely difficult to learn English, succeed in school, and help their families navigate life in the U.S. GirlForward is a non-profit organization in Chicago dedicated to empowering adolescent refugee girls to reach their full potential. Here are the stories of Khina, Saja, Sarah, and Domi - four girls who have participated in GirlForward's programs. To learn more, visit girlforward.org or Facebook.com/GirlForward

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