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One Step Closer


Disembarking at Goz Beida. Photo: i-ACT/Gabriel Stauring

This will be my first trip to Goz Amer (actually my first trip out of the country). I am so very anxious to get to the refugee camp and begin our work here.

My name is Melissa Holcombe. I am from sunny California and happily married with two children who I miss tremendously already. I am blessed to have a family who is so supportive of my passion for advocating for the education of disadvantaged children. So here I am…I am one of the Expert Teacher Advisors who will be training the teachers for the Little Ripples Preschool in the Goz Amer refugee camp.

It is difficult waiting to meet the teachers that we will be working with. Today we a took a big step in that direction…we finally made it to the UNHCR compound in Kou Kou! This is day #5 being in T’Chad. We left N’ djamena @ 6:00 am this morning for a 1 1/2 hour flight to Abeche. From there we flew to Goz Beida, which was followed by a convoy to the UNHCR compound in Kou Kou! One step closer!


Truck on the road to Kou Kou. Photo: i-ACT/Melissa Holcombe


Starbucks Via French Roast with Splenda and powdered milk..yum!

Starbucks Via French Roast with Splenda and powdered milk..yum! Photo: i-ACT/Jocelyn Tucker

We just received word that the school is nearly ready…just needs painting! Hearing that is music to my ears! That is such great news! I’ve been hoping all along that we will be able to train the teaching staff and be here for the opening of the school as well. That possibility is looking more and more like a reality. I can hardly contain my excitement! But…one step at a time…I patiently wait to meet the wonderful teachers that we will be working with. I look forward to learning a lot about them (and from them) and begin to build a rapport. From there, the expectation is to collaborate and build the rest of the Little Ripples curriculum together. My hope is to leave them with some wonderful tools to make Little Ripples a success…empowering them to make a positive impact on their community and the lives of their most vulnerable and precious treasures… the children.

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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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