Revving Our Engines for CAR
The ongoing pandemic has brought starts and stops for all of us. Yet for the iACT community, reaching out to displaced communities is a constant. 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.
With a mission to inspire a more mindful humanitarian world, iACT hopes to disrupt the cycles of violence in CAR that have continued for decades and across generations. The New York Times describes the large-scale displacement of Central Africans and its impacts on human health, life expectancy, and development as “a crisis the world neglects.” But not iACT. In fact, the significant efforts needed to support Central Africans is precisely what drew iACT to CAR in 2017. iACT Founder Gabriel Stauring shares:
On that first trip, I met women who are inspiring and maintain hope despite the constant threat of war and violence. Their hope comes from the children and offering them spaces where they can nurture peace. “I am someone that moves forward without fear,” a female leader told me. iACT is going back to CAR to support that movement towards peace.
Our call to engage in the CAR community continues to grow, and we’re excited to work alongside Central Africans to co-create programs that bring hope and joy to children and families affected by mass atrocities, war, and displacement.
Through our existing partnership with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), our signature preschool program, Little Ripples, has been in action in CAR for over 5 years. Initially, iACT trained teachers from five preschools in the capital city of Bangui and surrounding areas in play-based learning to support the social and emotional development of children ages 3-5. We are thrilled to expand our partnership by training 60+ additional teachers in the JRS network this fall.
Additionally, to deepen iACT’s impact in CAR, we’re excited to launch a Refugees United Soccer Academy in Bangui for the first time. Our team will conduct coach training and select four full-time coaches who will lead their communities in the iACT’s youth sports framework.
With these two key programs, iACT hopes to bring play to over 1,000 children in CAR. We’ll also continue to develop relationships with value-aligned organizations and stakeholders who are focused on early childhood education, youth sport programs, leadership and professional development training for displaced communities.
Our hope for CAR is to see every child spend time each week playing and experiencing joy in a safe space that promotes peace, helping, and sharing — and where creativity, problem-solving, compassion, and empathy are nurtured.
There are many ways to help build little ripples of hope for CAR refugees. Join our community turning Hope into Action by donating.
Ready… Set… GO!
By the afternoon, the consensus was encapsulated by what one humanitarian worker in Bangui told us, “This is CAR. It is always high risk.”
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.
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...