If We Tell You About All The Positive Changes, We Will Be Here Until Tomorrow
Traca and I are back in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. After a night of rest, we spent our morning together debriefing and reflecting on all that we experienced these past two weeks:
- We facilitated 2 Little Ripples Teacher Trainingswith a total of 52 men and women. This group was made up of Cameroonians, refugees, preschool teachers, and cooks.
- We worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service Preschool Monitoring Agents and Education Coordinator to adapt and create a monitoring and evaluation plan to measure the impact of their preschool program. This was basedon iACT’s tools and experience measuring the impact of Little Ripples in Chad.
- We held meetings with preschool parent committees across refugee sites Boubara, Timangolo, Kette,and Gbiti. There was a total of 61 parents representing 16 preschools.
- We visited refugee site Gado where we spent time with refugee families from CAR as well as our Refugees United Soccer Academy coaches, Stanislas, Ghislaine, Haroun, and Rashidatou, and watched the Academy boys and girls play and celebrate!
Our days and weeks were nonstop, yet we both felt so present in everyday and every moment, which allowed the trip to evolve slowly.
And still, with all that said and done, and all the work we set out to accomplish completed, what comes forward the most for both us these past two weeks are the people—the people we had the privilege of working next to everyday and their smiles, warmth, kindness, participation, stories, and feedback. Here are some of those people and their words:
“You made us feel comfortable during training. You put yourself at our level. You met us where we are and you played with us. For that we thank you iACT trainees.” – Anita, teacher on the far right
“More and more children are coming to preschool and the attendance rates have greatly improved. This has been very encouraging to us! We thank iACT training because the teachers are more peaceful and playful and we must thank iACT for these improvements.” – Stepanie, JRS preschool Monitoring Agent
“It’s been so great to see the teachers participate in the training and learning the material. We really see the fruits of the training. After the first training in January, we saw the teachers be more peaceful with students, teach with play, and adapt to the needs of children. I’ve really seen a difference.” – Elie
“Honestly, I really want to put all of this in practice. I’ve had difficulty adapting to children and I felt overwhelmed. I feel now I can overcome difficulties and I feel prepared to manage the number of children in my classroom.” – Ingrid (new JRS preschool teacher and her first training with iACT)
“If we tell you about all the positive changes we’ve seen in our children, we will be here until tomorrow.” – Father in parent committee in refugee site Gbiti
“Every morning we see our children excited to go to preschool.” – Father, refugee site Kette
“We see that children who go to preschool do better in primary school than children who do not.” – Father, refugee site Gbiti
“The Academy is the only sports programs for children and youth in our community. Life here in Gado is hard, but we must continue for the children and for us (coaches) it gives us purpose. Please don’t forget about us.” – Stanislas, iACT Refugee United Soccer Academy coach
Thank you to JRS for inviting iACT to Cameroon and for your commitment and partnership in ensuring young refugee children from the Central African Republic have access to safe, playful, and peaceful preschools, and that refugee parents are able to support and feel hopeful for the future of their children and community.
…the core of our work: investing in the people themselves to increase their agency, voice, and ownership of their lives. This objective is the same everywhere. Our approach is the same everywhere. This week, it is what sparked a CLEANING REVOLUTION.
My hope is that the time we spend working together toward a common goal—a better future for all of our children and community—will also create peace and joy in their hearts and daily lives.
When we asked Sara what message she wanted to share with the world, it was simple: “For the world, I tell them to let there be peace, no violence, and no racism.”