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Last Days in Chad

45 min flight from Koukou to Goz Beida, then 1.25 days at Camp Djabal. Camp Djabal and Camp Goz Amer are sister camps; similar population breakdown and programs. The first pilot Little Ripples will be implemented in Goz Amer, then in Djabal. We were able to test out our draft intake assessments with some of the children at Djabal. At enrollment and certain points throughout the year, this assessment will be completed with every Little Ripples student to track developmental progress. There are three basic sections: health (height, weight, middle upper arm circumference, etc), cognitive (can the child count to 10, name 4 basic colors, etc.), and social/emotional (does the child share his/her toys, show concern for others who are hurt, etc.). Little Ripples will present a new approach to preschool learning in these camps through affecting a child’s social and emotional well-being. Upon graduation, besides simply being able to recite the Arabic alphabet, our hope is that each Little Ripple will have an empathetic, peaceful sense of being and this foundation will allow each child to grow, develop, and affect their community, both locally and perhaps even globally, in immeasurable ways.

Gabe and I completed the assessments with the help of a translator; some questions are addressed to the mother and some are to the child directly. Each assessment took about 20 minutes, but with some revisions to the order and language of the assessment we are thinking we can whittle it down to 10-15 minutes per child. Either way, the enrollment/intake/assessment process is going to be a doozy when Little Ripples opens!

Yesterday was our last full day at Djbal and we had back to the USA tonight. This trip has been beyond amazing. i-ACT has already developed deep, lasting friendships with many at both camps, and it was cool to meet all the people that I see/read/hear so much about – these friends were as welcoming as can be and I feel one notch deeper into the i-ACT family. I also learned a lot about the way that the Darfuri refugee camps are run and managed, with so many different NGOs involved in the UNHCR structure. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to meet the children and families that Little Ripples will be built for. Already, I was in love with the Little Ripples programming on paper, but being able to see firsthand the despairing need for it, I am that much more committed to pushing this project forward!

Hopefully my next trip out to Chad will be in April, for the grand opening of Little Ripples. There is so much to be done between now and then, can’t wait to start gettin it crackin!

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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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