About Us

What We Do

SDRT operates on a weekly basis meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. in City Heights. Tutors work 1:1 with refugee students helping them with basic English and foundational math skills. Tutors also spend time reading with our students and playing educational games together. Returning tutors are encouraged to work with the same students for consistency.

Tutors can easily join us for any tutoring session and do NOT need any formal training to jump right in. REGISTER HERE if you’d like to join today.


San Diego Refugee Tutoring works with refugee students from Ibarra Elementary and their siblings (preschool, middle school and high school).  Our students have lived in the United States anywhere from one month to four years. They are Burmese/Karen/Karenni, Burundian, DR Congolese, Nepali, Iraqi, Somali, Sudanese, Mozambican, Ethiopian, and Eritrean. Most of our students speak several languages other than English.

How We Got Started

In 2008, SDRT was formed out of a brainstorming session of teachers who saw the unmet needs of a growing refugee population in an eastern City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Dealing with more than just an educational gap, teachers noticed a wide cultural gap that made it difficult for refugee students to keep up with their peers. Most students do not receive any additional instruction outside of school from someone who is fluent in English or assimilated to American culture since they often live in ethnic enclaves.  Additionally, there are extremely limited after-school options for accessible tutoring or extracurricular activities.

When SDRT started, it focused on meeting the needs of the Ibarra Elementary School students (K-5th grade), their siblings, and their parents.  As the parents began getting jobs, learning English and acquiring full schedules, the parents could no longer spend 90 minutes with us.  Now, SDRT focuses mainly on the students and their siblings.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers come from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, careers, cultures, and religions. On any given Tuesday and Thursday, SDRT has volunteers from various high schools, local community colleges and three major universities, local churches, and various friends and families from a plethora of workplaces. This is a unique volunteer opportunity that welcomes entire families to serve together.  There is flexibility with our volunteer commitments ranging from daytime tutoring at an elementary school to tutoring high school students during the evening.  Volunteers can come, sign up, and volunteer any given week. Please REGISTER HERE if you’d like to join us!


Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30p.m. at:

Ibarra Elementary School
4877 Orange Avenue
San Diego, CA 92105