Luma Mufleh (born March 1, 1975) is founder and director of Fugees Family, Inc., ("The Fugees") a non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. Mufleh founded Fugees Family in 2004 and is currently head coach of the Fugees soccer teams.
Luma Mufleh was born in Amman, Jordan. She left Jordan to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1993. Mufleh graduated from Smith in 1997 with a B.A. in anthropology. She moved from Northampton to Boston to North Carolina to Atlanta, while working as a waitress, cook, grocery stock clerk, an office worker for a charity, and a freelance website designer. After she arrived in Atlanta, she started Ashton's, a coffee shop and café, and coached girls' soccer before founding the Fugees Family in 2004.
Fugees Family, Inc. ("The Fugees") is a non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. The Fugees was cofounded by Luma Mufleh and Tracy Edigar, the Chief Operating Officer who directs all volunteers and educational activities for Fugees programs. The Fugees program has 86 refugee boys and girls ages 11–18 who attend twice-weekly soccer practices, play games on weekends, and participate in tournaments. Fugees Family has an after-school tutoring program, a 57-student middle school called Fugees Academy, and ongoing community events like car washes and group meals. The Fugees sign a strict contract outlining the rules for maintaining membership in the program.
The Fugees are from over 24 war-torn countries around the world, such as Burma, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, and Eritrea. The Fugees are located in Clarkston, Georgia, a town of about 7,000 people a few miles outside of Atlanta. Over 61,000 refugees have been resettled in Georgia since 1981, with 2,824 arriving in 2008. Clarkston was chosen as a site for refugee resettlement due to its access to public transportation, cheap and plentiful housing, and proximity to Atlanta. Although not without controversy, the Fugees have been recognized for their efforts at fostering diversity, tolerance, and community building among both refugees as well as local residents of Clarkston and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Mufleh also started Fresh Start for America, a cleaning service that provides immigrant and refugee adults work opportunities that are non-exploitative (40 hours a week starting at $10 per hour). Each workday includes an hour of professional development, such as English-language training, finance, computer skills, and cleaning skills.
Mufleh is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, the Smith College Medal, and the Common Ground Award which is presented annually to honor accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building, and peacebuilding. She also received the Foreign Language Advocacy Award in 2009 from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for her commitment to the integration of refugees in the U.S.
She has appeared on CNN, the Today Show, CBS, and ESPN   and as a commencement speaker. Mufleh has also been featured in The New York Times, NPR, and Sports Illustrated.
- "Who We Are". Fugees Family. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Georgia Refugee Health Program". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- St. John, Warren (2007-01-21). "Refugees Find Hostility and Hope on Soccer Field". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Common Ground Award". Search for Common Ground. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- "Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award". Emory University. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- Yee, Amy (2010-02-18). "Smith Medalist Reflects on Rewards of Soccer Program". The Sophian. Smith College. Archived from the original on 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "The James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
- "A Dedicated Coach Molds A Group Of Refugee Children From War Zones Around The World". CBS. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Refugees go from war zones to the soccer field". MSNBC. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Extraordinary People". CBS Early Show. 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Commencement Speaker". Johnson State College. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Kathy Lohr (2007-03-09). "Refugees Find Hope, Film Deal on Soccer Field". NPR. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Soccer Team Provides Distraction For Refugees". NPR. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Coach teaches soccer players about teamwork, education". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2008-04-01. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Gary Smith (2008-06-28). "Alive and Kicking". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Tiki Barber (2007-06-28). "'Fugee' Power". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Bill Littlefield (2009-05-03). "Beating the odds on the field – and off". boston.com. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- St. John, Warren (2009). "Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town", Random House Publishing Group.