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Creating Impact Beyond the Classroom

IMG_0690It’s been a while since I sat down with Little Ripples lead teacher, Haleyma. Over the past two years she has successfully managed the Little Ripples School, including 13 teachers! So it was time to check-in with her and personally thank her for all her hard work.

During our conversation I learned that many things have changed over the past couple years for Haleyma. At 23 years of age, she is now married and has a young baby named Hasabala. Hasabala is her first, but she says she would like to have a total of 10 children! That took me by surprise and I didn’t hide it. She laughed shyly when I yelled out, “10!?” It’s wonderful that Haleyma is a now a mother, because she said Little Ripples has impacted the way she will raise her young children. She said that since learning how to teach young children and seeing them learn, she feels happier and confidant. She is happy that she has educational knowledge that she can share with her family and future children. “Now,” she said, “I can share my ideas and discuss with my husband.” However, Haleyma did admit that Little Ripples is hard work. She said she has less time in her day to do her chores at home for her family, something I think many women in the U.S. can sympathize with. But because of this, we at iACT never miss a moment to give gratitude and accolade to all the Little Ripples teachers for all that they do. I certainly didn’t miss that moment when sitting on the ground listening to Haleyma.

And there’s more. I also learned from Haleyma that the attendance at Little Ripples is lower than usual. Even though it’s well into November, Haleyma reports that there are still many Little Ripples children who have not yet returned from their family’s farm. This isn’t surprising. Since the World Food Program drastically reduced the food rations for Darfur refugees, families have been forced to stay longer at their farms, a days walk away from Camp Goz Amer, cultivating what they can to sustain them for the months ahead. It’s a decision most of us will never need to consider: Do I feed my children or educate them? No parent should have to make that choice. It was a great feeling to be able to tell Haleyma that iACT will begin to offer a daily meal at Little Ripples. She gave me a big smile and said, “Very good!”

It will come of no surprise that I left my conversation with Haleyma feeling more confidant that Little Ripples will continue to create impact. Being here, I see it and I hear it, and I have no doubt that Little Ripples will slowly shift the way refugee educators and parents teach and develop their young children. For according to Haleyma, it already has.

Lastly, if you are considering donating on the annual day of global giving, #GivingTuesday, perhaps you’ll be inspired to support our meal program for the children of Little Ripples.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 is a global day of giving.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 11.06.06 PMJoin iACT in starting a ripple of hope. Our Giving Tuesday goal is to build a new Little Ripples Pond, provide education for 45 refugee girls and boys, and train and employ two refugee women teachers. Your gift of $25 towards a $5,000 goal will allow us to do so.

This blog was originally posted on iactivism.org as part of iACT’s 22nd expedition to eastern Chad.

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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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