Hello everyone!!! It is with great excitement and a wee bit of nervous anxiety that I write this first post to introduce myself and a little bit more about the i-ACT 14 expedition. I recently joined the Little Ripples team as the Project Coordinator and am taking my first trip out to the camps next week with Gabriel!
In the past few years, I have worked as a reproductive health educator in high school classrooms and a research associate at a UCLA mental health research center. The most enjoyable part of these positions, and I guess the initial reason I pursued a degree in public health, is that fulfilling feeling of being able to help others, whether it be on an individual, group, or community level. Since studying abroad and volunteering with a student organization at the University of Cape Town, South Africa as an undergrad (2005), I’ve had an interest in international development programs. Being able to work and contribute to such an inspired and trailblazing project such as Little Ripples really is a dream come true! These last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting more of the i-Act and Little Ripples team, and let me tell you, it is so great to work with such warm, dedicated, resourceful, and knowledgeable group.
Gabriel and I are leaving on Monday for Chad. We will be staying in the capital N’Djamena for some days and also visiting two camps: Goz Amer and Djabal. The main focus of the i-i-ACT 14 expedition is to further define the framework for Little Ripples. We want to finalize the location for the first pilot preschool in Goz Amer so that construction can begin as soon as possible. We also will be getting feedback from the refugee communities in both camps on the basic curriculum the team has built to make sure that we are providing the type of preschool program that best serves the whole community. The Little Ripples team is constantly mindful of creating a program that respects and builds upon the Darfuri culture, so this trip is a vital check-in step.
This is going to be Gabriel’s 14th trip to the camps but my very first! No matter how much I try to prepare myself through pictures, videos, and stories I’m sure there will be a huge awe/shock/amazement/eye-opener factor for me on this trip. I’m excited to share my experiences with you all so please stay tuned!
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