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Little Ripples: We’re doing Something Right

IMG_4112Today we wrapped up our one-year assessments at Little Ripples! What a productive few days. Afterwards, we got to spend some time with our refugee interviewers. Nathan was able to thank each interviewer individually, get some group pictures and let them know that because of their hard work, we have some really valuable data to help us improve and scale up Little Ripples in the camps.

In the afternoon, we visited two households where we got to spend time with Little Ripples mothers. We were graciously welcomed into their homes, where we sat outside, on mats under the shade of thatched coverings. We were able to hear a detailed account of each mother’s day. As well as gain insight into her child’s behavior, and how if at all, Little Ripples has impacted her child and her own daily life. Here are a few quotes from each mother remarking on how Little Ripples has changed their children and themselves:

Rakiya, Mother of two LR students:

“I’ve changed my behavior, I’m happier since my child started attending Little Ripples.”

“Before it was hard to ask my children to do things. Now they listen to me. And they come home talking about what they have learned at school.”

Mariyam, mother of LR student Salema:

“After she goes to the bathroom, she cleans her hands, and she likes to be more clean now.”

“She counts more and sings songs and poems at home.”

“Since Little Ripples, I now have more time to do things, to go out and collect wood and to rest.”

It was so encouraging to speak to the mothers about Little Ripples today. Its another reminder that we’re doing something right, needed and truly community oriented. But I have to say, I never find it easy to enter somebody’s home, to hear details of their life, their hardship and their hopes, only to be there so briefly and leave. I know its the nature of the work.

We must go and listen to as many as we can, and then, share what we’ve heard. We must amplify the voices, the stories and the needs of the Darfuri refugees to you all and to those willing to act on their behalf. We must listen to also better inform our work and our collaboration with the refugee community. However, I find it incredibly challenging to process the things I see and hear. Especially knowing that I will return home, to a place of abundance, far from these isolated refugee camps in Eastern Chad. That said, what challenges me doesn’t compare to the challenges lived daily by the families we’ve met this past week.

Thank you to all you for following along i-ACT19. For reading our blogs, sharing our photos and stories and lending your support. Like our refugee friends say, its nice to feel connected and to know we have support, people working hard alongside us back in the US.

Gabriel and I still have 11 days to go here in Chad. Bright and early tomorrow morning, we’ll make the drive back to camp Djabal and get back out on the pitch with the Darfur United players. We still have so much ahead of us for Darfur United. Tomorrow, we’ll need to pick the final 15 players and continue working on the logistics of getting the team on a flight to Sweden!!

I’ll leave you with the simple but significant highlights of my day: One, getting to hold two tiny babies, both just a few months old. Heaven! And two, when Fatima, a Little Ripples teacher who was taking height and weight measurements of children for the assessments, measured my height for fun. She was taking it so seriously, not letting me stand any taller than I really was! It was too funny. Fatima is a gem and a leader. We’re so proud that she is a Little Ripples teacher.

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Sara-Christine Dallain

Sara-Christine Dallain holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Masters in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. Through her previous work with Direct Relief; Réseau Africain d’Education pour la Santé (RAES) in Senegal, Africa; and Board Member of Chad Relief Foundation; Dallain brings on-the-ground insight and experience in program design, evaluation, and implementation for health and education projects in sub-Saharan Africa. As i-ACT Director of Programs, she manages the development, implementation, and evaluation of i-ACT programs in refugee camps, serves as the organization’s primary grant writer, contributes greatly to social media and marketing content, collaborates with and oversees program volunteers, and supports i-ACT development and fundraising initiatives. Dallain has been working in both southern and eastern Chad refugee camps since 2011, and is one of the staff members regularly traveling to eastern Chad refugee camps and global conferences.

 

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