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Little Ripples Celebration Day

What an exciting and eventful day! We wrapped up our training with the Little Ripples teachers and the community held a celebration to recognize the opening of the school. With Sudanese music playing from what appeared to be a cell phone amplified through a bull horn, dates, peanuts and sodas were served as community leaders gave speeches and thanks to all involved in the process of bringing the Little Ripples Preschool to life. There was clapping and cheering. As I looked around I saw faces beaming with pride, wide-eyed expressions and many smiles. Each teacher was presented with a certificate and a scarf for completing the training. While the celebration played out, Jocelyn and I stole just a few more minutes to connect with the teachers by talking softly in the background and sharing pictures of our loved ones at home. You see, we have become more than trainers to them and they are much more than students to us– we are friends!  Because they are so young I feel like a mother figure preparing a child for the world. In a sense that is what we have began to accomplish here. When I arrived, my focus was concentrated on the preschool children and how it would help them and the community as a whole. At the time I didn’t realize what an impact we are having on these young ladies individual lives. Because of Little Ripples, they are now beginning careers (there are very limited opportunities here in the refugee camp). They will be able to contribute to their family income. They will be making history. They will be empowered and they will empower others! Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of the day, Jocelyn and I were able to spend a little time reflecting with the teachers privately about this whole experience. There was a mixture of smiles and tears (I’m a bit of a softy and it turns out Jocelyn is too..what a team!). Teacher after teacher thanked us for “teaching us how to teach the children.” We in turn thanked them for teaching us so much! The end of my time here is bitter sweet. I feel great that I have helped to make a positive impact on the community that is Goz Amer. I am excited for these beautiful women as they move into their roles as teachers. I know that they will do an awesome job! I am sad to go. I will truly miss each one of them but will hold them dear to my heart.



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Melissa Holcombe

Melissa Holcombe is currently working as a My Teaching Partner Coach and Assessor in collaboration with First 5 California, the Child Development Training Consortium and Teachstone, Inc. Additionally, Melissa enjoys her adjunct position as a Child Development Instructor at San Bernardino Valley College. She holds a Masters of Education degree with a focus on early education and care. Melissa has twenty years of experience in the child development and education field. She is a member of the California Early Childhood Mentor Program and serves as a local/regional trainer. One of Melissa’s passions is developing and facilitating fun, interactive ECE workshops to teachers on topics related to increasing the quality of teaching in early child development classrooms. Melissa is excited to serve as an Expert Teacher Advisor on the Little Ripples project and is honored to be part of a wonderful project that will provide preschool services to thousands of children in Darfuri refugee camps.


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