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“That’s good news,” my friend Sandra from the UN Refugee Agency tells me through e mail. She just visited the Little Ripples site, where construction just started a couple of weeks ago. She says that the work is moving quickly. Then I open a zip file with three pictures from the site, and…wow! Wow! The walls to the classrooms are going up, and I can already see what will be three of the six classrooms in a relatively advanced stage of construction.

Little Ripples is no longer only in our imagination. The actual space is being shaped, and the people in camp Goz Amer can see it grow. We’ve been talking about this for so long, about creating a magical space for refugee children. I felt wonderful chills, when I opened these pictures.

Chantier pre scolaire

We are now in full-on planning mode for our trip in late May, when we’ll train the refugee teachers and co-create with them the actual curriculum. We’ll do an initial baseline assessment with the children and mothers from which we can then measure how the program is doing and be able to immediately adjust to make it better. And then, the school will open.

Pre scolaire Goz Amir

Seeing the walls go up makes it more real than ever. I know that walls alone do not make a school. The school will be the kids, the teachers, and the community around them. But having a safe, comfortable, fun, and beautiful setting will make the children want to be there every day. Our refugee friends often tell us that they feel abandoned by the world, and in many ways they have been. On what is considered the 10th anniversary for the conflict in Darfur, we can change that perception and that reality, and there’s few better ways for doing that than by supporting their young, beautiful little children — their little ripples.

You can also check out these great photos that Umda Tarbosh sent us of the construction on Pazocalo.org.


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Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009. He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.


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