Today, 20 teachers and cooks from the villages of Boubara and Timangolo in eastern Cameroon completed Little Ripples Teacher Training I. The reach and impact of Little Ripples, our early childhood education program, continues to grow. A program designed in partnership with Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad will now be implemented in community-based centers across eastern Cameroon to improve the early learning and development of refugee children from the Central African Republic as well as local Cameroonian children.
At the completion of training, like always, we celebrated the teachers and cooks by awarding each woman a Little Ripples certificate, badge, and scarf, but today, for me, the ceremony felt different. As I stood watching the women expertly and beautifully wrap the scarves around their heads, preparing themselves for photos, I began to think about all of the women in Chad, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, and now, Cameroon, who are and will be walking through their communities and teaching young children, while wearing these blue Little Ripples scarves. In that moment, I realized each scarf is more than a gift from iACT or something for the women to wear so they feel proud to be Little Ripples teachers. Each scarf is also an item and an image of hope in action. It represents the thousands of young refugee children accessing safe and joyful learning spaces, the hundreds of women with meaningful and empowering work, and a foundation for a more peaceful future for communities affected by mass atrocities. And while I’ve been participating in Little Ripples training ceremonies and distributing Little Ripples scarves for several years now, today, the distribution of the Little Ripples scarves took on new meaning for me.
Hope in action.