In the fall of 2020, violence erupted again in the contested region between Armenia and Azerbaijan of Nagorno-Karabakh, known to many in Armenia as Artsakh. A ceasefire had been in place since 1994. As a result of the violence, Azerbaijan regained control of the territory and around 90,000 Armenians were displaced from Artsakh, mostly throughout other regions of Armenia. More than 100 civilians were killed in the conflict. In 2021, in partnership with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer (GOALS), iACT launched soccer academies throughout Armenia.
iACT IN ARMENIA
men and women hired as coaches
branches operating through 1 Academy
boys and girls enrolled in soccer academies
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Academy Coach, Armenia
Gevorg lives in Artsakh, but is not from there. He fought in the war in 2020 in the contested Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh region, surviving a bullet wound to his shoulder, and felt compelled to stay to help. Gevorg has started a league for girls and is dedicated to connecting Artsakh to the world through soccer. He hosts an iACT soccer academy for boys and girls in Artsakh to help them recover from war and feel joy and hope through play.
“iACT has given me a great chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of working with children in Artsakh, and now I have succeeded in doing that. I am now able to help many children and to transfer my knowledge to them. I help them forget about their daily worries and give them happiness and joy.”
In 2013, thousands of people were forced to flee the Central African Republic (CAR) due to an outbreak of violence. Ongoing conflict has forced many to remain in neighboring countries. Currently, there are more than 345,000 refugees from CAR living in Cameroon. Basic needs such as food, health, shelter, and water are all primary concerns for the refugee communities, and access to other social, protective, and education services remain severely limited. In 2016, with our partner Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), we launched Refugees United Soccer Academy in the town of Gado. And in 2019, iACT again partnered with JRS to launch the Little Ripples program in 4 villages in eastern Cameroon.
iACT IN CAMEROON
community-based pre-schools implementing Little Ripples pedagogy
Central African refugee and Cameroonian teachers trained in pedagogy
Central African refugee and Cameroonian children reached so far
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Little Ripples Teacher, Cameroon
Hadija is a trained Little Ripples teacher and works in a preschool community-based center in a village in eastern Cameroon where refugees from the Central African Republic have been integrated with the local community. When Hadija became a community-based preschool teacher two years ago, very few refugee children were attending. She explained that now, “Parents see the children of their neighbors and see how they are changing and growing because of preschool. And so parents become more willing. This year, before the school year, many refugee parents were looking for me and asking me when school would begin for their children.”
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Nearly one third of the Central African Republic’s population has been displaced by violence and humanitarian crisis. While many have fled across borders, 602,134 people are internally displaced within the country. In the cities of Mbata and Bangui, iACT works alongside Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to train teachers and soccer coaches. Today there are 5 Little Ripples teachers employed to peer-train teachers and 4 coaches leading a Refugees United Soccer Academy.
iACT IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
teachers in Mbata and Bangui trained in Little Ripples pedagogy
Academy in Bangui with 4 coaches, and 18 coaches trained
boys and girls participating in RUSA
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Bienvenu Gérard Wangue
Academy Coach, CAR
“My name is Bienvenu Gérard Wangue, I have been living in Bangui for 28 years. I was born in the North of the Central African Republic precisely in the city of Kabo. I started playing football 26 years ago. I had wanted to become a coach because it was a passion for me, and it is even a dream for me. I would like the world to know that the Central African Republic is not a country of war, on the contrary a country of peace and hospitality where these children have a lot of talent and love to learn football, among other things, which unites them.”
The Darfur genocide began in 2003, killing an estimated 400,000 individuals and displacing more than 3 million. Today, more than 390,000 Darfuri refugees are living in 12 camps in eastern Chad with limited access to critical services. Building on the need for programs in Chad that address trauma and promote education, health, peacebuilding, and social integration, iACT launched Little Ripples in Chad in 2013. iACT worked directly with Darfuri refugee communities there to develop the Little Ripples program and the Refugees United Soccer Academy, and continues to work directly with these same communities to implement these programs. iACT works in collaboration with its partner the Jesuit Refugee Service in Chad.
iACT IN CHAD
Ponds and 6 Little Ripples classrooms currently operating in Chad
Darfuri refugee teachers trained pedagogy and program management
meals served to Little Ripples students in Chad per week
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Little Ripples Teacher, Chad
Leila is 23 years old and is a Little Ripples Teacher in refugee camp Mile. She has spent the majority of her life in a camp where few employment opportunities exist for women. In February 2018, she became a Little Ripples teacher and now helps lead the program in her community.
“I use this mat when I’m teaching. I teach because children are the future. If I teach them then they will be happier and stronger in the future.”
In refugee camp Katsikas, located outside of Ioannina, Greece, there are approximately 1,200 refugee community members. At least 200 of these refugees are women, and one third are children. Camp Katsikas is one of four refugee settlements in the Epirus region. It currently hosts a total of approximately 3,400 registered refugees in urban accommodations and three camps. The refugee community is diverse, with people from Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Somalia, and Ukraine, among others. There are very few international NGOs left in the Epirus region. In August 2019, in partnership with Second Tree, iACT facilitated the co-creation of the Little Ripples program with residents of camp Katsikas and asylum seekers and refugees living in urban accommodations in Ioannina.
iACT IN GREECE
34 community members trained in Little Ripples pedagogy and program management
lead teachers manage the program.
Little Ripples teacher trainings completed.
MEET OUR COMMUNITY
Sara is a Little Ripples trained community member living in Ioannina, Greece. She is from Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq. Her hope is for her children to be educated, to speak many languages, get a good education, and study whatever they want for as long as they can. 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.”
In April 2015, political violence and insecurity forced over 400,000 Burundians to flee to neighboring countries. Currently, 127,333 Burundian refugees are residing in three refugee camps in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. Many young Burundian refugee children are out of school and in need of quality early childhood care and development support. In partnership with Plan International Tanzania, iACT launched the Little Ripples program in the Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps in western Tanzania to support these children and ensure they can exercise their right to education and healthy development.
iACT IN TANZANIA
refugee camps where RUSA is being implemented
40 teachers trained in Little Ripples pedagogy
children reached so far
children currently enrolled.