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The First Little Ripple

From the beginning, this pilot Little Ripples site was only meant to serve a certain sector of the camp.  The location was collaboratively chosen with the camp management, JRS, UNHCR, and refugee leaders based on it’s prime location and ideal number of preschool aged children (~400) for the pilot year.  However, now that the construction is nearing completion, some of the refugee community is upset that it will not be able to serve children from all sectors of the camp.  We will need to have a meeting to explain the pilot process and hopefully with data that is able to show a successful program, we will be able to expand Little Ripples to all sectors of Camp Goz Amer.

Walking through the school site, it’s not a surprise that everyone would want their child to attend Little Ripples – it’s absolutely beautiful!!! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but everything has far exceeded our expectations.  When the walls were going up, some of the refuges wondered if a university was being built!  With the finishing touches and our Ripple Box materials, I have no doubts this is going to be a truly magical space.

Throughout this trip I’ve gotten many anxiety pangs about about the questions that keep popping up.  I think about the new arrivals, the preschool children in the other sectors, the children in the nearby villages and Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps and all the other kids that won’t be able to be a part of the pilot school program.  Also, our Little Ripples students will be graduating and continuing on to primary school first level where conditions are not much better than the current “preschool” kiosks (100 students in a makeshift tent led by one teacher who may not even be able to teach them for the whole day due to lack of primary school teachers…)  All these thoughts can be quite overwhelming and even debilitating at times!!  To be honest, I can see why it is so much easier to walk away from these big scale projects and just keep the status quo going…but I am so lucky to be a part of an amazing team that continually inspires and pushes forward.  When I feel these tickles of doubt creeping up in the back of my mind I think of the Little Ripples and i-ACT team that fearlessly (and I mean this word in the most literal sense!!) works to empower the Darfuri refugee population and I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to contribute to these efforts.

Enjoy pictures of our beautiful school!! You can find more on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iactRipples

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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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