About US

empowering youth of foreign origin to become tomorrow's leaders

Striving for a more equitable and inclusive Iceland, one youth at a time


The Youth of Foreign Origin Mentorship program (YOFOM) is a non-profit education and development organisation based in Reykjavík, Iceland.  

The mentorship program aims to assist Icelandic youth of foreign origin between the ages of 15-20 by connecting them with established mentors and providing access to professional sectors and spaces that might otherwise be closed to them. 

Founded by Jamaican-born attorney Claudia Ashanie Wilson, YOFOM recognises the importance of representation in society and aims furthermore to highlight the professional accomplishments of Icelanders of foreign origin. We hope to help build a stronger, more inclusive Icelandic society by facilitating connections for mentees to opportunities in Iceland’s cultural, political, and professional institutions.

Why is YOFOM important?

Youth of foreign origin face a myriad of unique struggles while navigating Icelandic society, including structural and cultural barriers, social isolation, and imposter syndrome, which often occurs because of the treatment they receive from their fellow Icelanders. 

Studies show that the number of children of foreign origin in the school system increased by 23 times between 1996-2021, making up over 11% of the Icelandic student body. 

While dropout rates have steadily declined since 2001, the graduation rate for children of foreign origin is lower than that of their Icelandic peers…read more


YOFOM’s mission is to create pipelines to academic, professional, and social success for youth of foreign origin, so that they can use their talents and skills to help bolster Icelandic society and culture. 

We believe that sustained access, connection, and encouragement will help youth of foreign origin maximize their potential. 


Each year, YOFOM will open the mentorship application to youth of foreign origin who are 15-20 years old. A committee will select a mentorship class of approximately 12 students from the applications.

The mentorship program follows an academic calendar, starting in the fall of each year and culminating in early summer. The program consists of four main components: group mentorship, peer “buddy” mentoring, institutional visits, and book club. 

Research has proven that there is a strong connection between the length of mentorship matches and their overall positive outcomes. YOFOM will continue to engage its alumni after their mentorship year ends because we believe that sustained connection is pivotal as young people build their networks and embark on their own professional journeys.

Uplift, Educate, Unite & Motivate

Embark on a transformative mentorship journey with a cohort of your peers, where you will discuss your goals, seek guidance, and work collaboratively to overcome challenges and achieve success.


YOFOM pairs mentees with a peer “buddy” mentor and professional mentors who will help them to navigate their future goals, while simultaneously expanding mentees’ social circles. Mentees will participate in monthly mentor talks, book club discussions, and other events aimed at giving mentees more access to opportunities.

YOFOM seeks applications from youth of foreign origin in Iceland who are between 15-20 years old. While it is not necessary for applicants to live in the Capital Region, mentees must be able to attend the monthly mentor talks and events held in-person at least three times a month in Reykjavík. 

Mentors will be evaluated based on their areas of expertise and what skills and knowledge they can share with mentees. YOFOM will review mentee applications and match them with mentors who can help them level up academically, professionally, and socially in Icelandic society. 

Mentees are expected to attend the monthly mentor talks and events which are held at least three times a month in Reykjavík. YOFOM seeks mentees who are fully committed to the program and dedicated to getting the most out of their mentorship experience. We encourage mentees to engage with their mentors and cultivate new connections. 

There will be designated in-person mentor talks and events each month, but mentees are encouraged to be in active communication with their mentors. Mentors will share their preferred means of communication and scheduling with mentees.

Mentors will come from diverse backgrounds and experience levels, so topics can vary from mentor to mentor. Mentees can seek guidance on career, academics, personal trajectory, networking, Icelandic culture and society, and many other areas.

Mentees will be assigned a peer mentor and group mentor. These two mentors will serve as the core of the YOFOM program. If mentees feel a connection to other mentors in the program, they are welcomed to connect with those mentors as well.