Gabriel’s Hope for 2020 impact: Return to the Central African Republic
As 2019 comes to an end, all of us at iACT have a simple theme we’ve been focusing on for 2020: impact. For us, “impact” is so much more than numbers. It’s about dignity, respect, and true opportunity for each individual that is touched by iACT’s work.
We are committed to continue supporting the communities we currently work next to, but also to look at where our efforts can improve the lives of other people that are in challenging, dangerous, and often forgotten regions of the world.
One such place is the Central African Republic. In 2020, I intend to return to this small and beautiful nation that is full of amazing and courageous people. It is also a nation that is in great distress and experiencing years of instability and chaos—and at the edge of imploding into unimaginable violence.
In 2017, we visited CAR and implemented a Little Ripples training for a small group of teachers. Little Ripples is iACT’s award winning preschool program. It was inspirational to be in our training circle while supporting their efforts to create islands of peace for preschool-age girls and boys living in the capital and villages across the country.
It was heartbreaking when the teachers told us that they knew that their beloved land would be overwhelmed by violence soon. Nonetheless, they did not lose hope. They also knew that their work with the children was the only opportunity that CAR has for a peaceful future.
We need to return to CAR. While it is always labeled one of the most dangerous places for humanitarians, it is also a wonderful opportunity to work next to these amazing teachers and their communities. More importantly, together, we can have an immediate and long-term impact on the entire country.
In a recent report by UN Secretary-General António Guterres regarding children in thCentral African Republic, he warns of grave violations of international human rights. He also mentions conditions that place children in serious and imminent danger. The report highlights attacks on schools, recruitment of child soldiers, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.
While conditions in CAR might not improve anytime soon, the young boys and girls of this beautiful country deserve spaces for them to feel safe, experience joy, and thrive during a key developmental stage of their lives. This foundation allows them to grow up and be agents of hope and, just maybe, make the whole of the Central African Republic—that beautiful tiny green nation—a big island of peace.
My hope for 2020 is for iACT to return to the Central African Republic to support preschool teachers across the small, beautiful nation that has been caught in cycles of extreme violence. The children of CAR deserve the opportunity to experience joy, and they offer hope for a peaceful future for an entire nation. Be a part of creating this impact.
Fr. Vazken Movsesian, from In His Shoes, interviewed Katie-Jay and Gabriel about their shared journey as anti-genocide activists and about iACT’s work, from its inception to our recent trip to Armenia to work with communities affected by the 2020 war in Artsakh.
We are excited to announce that iACT has secured initial funding for our team to return to the Central African Republic (CAR) this fall, for the first time since 2017.
I had the good fortune to recently spend 10 days or so in Armenia with Gabriel and Katie-Jay launching a soccer academy for coaches and kids affected by the war in Artsakh. My role was to bring the mindfulness piece of the puzzle and to share some simple practices and...