As iACT plans to expand Little Ripples in eastern Chad and share our model globally, we reflect on what motivates and drives us to do so. Here some of what we came up with:
First, we’re driven by the need. Globally, there is a huge gap in early childhood education programming for refugee children. On a global scale, education comprises only 2% of the international humanitarian aid budget, and primary school is the only mandated education program for refugee and internally displaced persons camps. Children under five are are not considered a priority population for education.
Secondly, we’re driven by the actual and potential impact of Little Ripples. Already in camp Goz Amer, following two years of implementation, we’ve seen the impact of Little Ripples on the whole child and the whole community, and now, we’re committed to growing the reach of that impact. But don’t just take if from us; below we highlight some of the people directly involved with Little Ripples everyday, driving us, right now, to continue to measure, evaluate, and scale Little Ripples.
Meet Mariam and her husband. Their village was attacked and burned to the ground just three years ago. They lost their parents in the attack, but they and their five children were able to make it safely to the border of Chad-Sudan and to refugee camp Goz Amer. Mariam and her husband are hosting Little Ripples in their home. When asked why they decided to accept teachers and children into their home each day, they said,“Education is very important. We are proud to have children in our home. The singing and the reading will be nice for all around us to hear. We didn’t get education before, so now we want the younger generation to get education.”
The Female Teachers
Little Ripples teacher Mariam Ali is 18 years old. She is not married and prefers not to be. She says she is lucky because her family is not forcing her into marriage now that she is a teacher and can support herself. Mariam has been living in camp Goz Amer for over a decade. From her perspective, the most difficult aspects of living in camp Goz Amer are access to quality education and food. Nowadays, what makes Mariam feel most happy and motivated in her life.
The Students’ Families
Koliya, sitting on the left, is mother of four-year-old Jamiya. Jamiya is attending a Little Ripples Pond just a few homes away from her own, in her camp “block” in Goz Amer. During the rainy summer season in, the family goes to their farm. They grow sorghum, peanuts and okra. Koliya attempts to sell half of what they grow, at the local market.
Koliya was concerned because Jamiya was not speaking, and so she decided to enroll Jamiya in Little Ripples after she heard about the program. Koliya said she enrolled her daughter in Little Ripples “so she [Jamiya] can have the opportunity to speak, read, and be educated and ready for primary school.”
Roumane, in the yellow scarf, is developing her fine and gross motor skills in small group learning at Little Ripples in camp Goz Amer. She is five years old and has lived her whole life in this refugee camp, as have most of her nine siblings.
They are farmers, and are able to yield a good amount of food five months out of the year, but they are still hungry most days. Her mother says that Roumane loves playing with her brothers and their homemade cars! She also helps cook by bringing her mother water. She loves it when her Little Ripples teacher sings along with the class. According to her mother, she is learning her letters well and when she comes home from Little Ripples she is singing and happy.
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