During our conversation I learned that many things have changed over the past couple years for Haleyma. At 23 years of age, she is now married and has a young baby named Hasabala. Hasabala is her first, but she says she would like to have a total of 10 children! That took me by surprise and I didn’t hide it. She laughed shyly when I yelled out, “10!?” It’s wonderful that Haleyma is a now a mother, because she said Little Ripples has impacted the way she will raise her young children. She said that since learning how to teach young children and seeing them learn, she feels happier and confidant. She is happy that she has educational knowledge that she can share with her family and future children. “Now,” she said, “I can share my ideas and discuss with my husband.” However, Haleyma did admit that Little Ripples is hard work. She said she has less time in her day to do her chores at home for her family, something I think many women in the U.S. can sympathize with. But because of this, we at iACT never miss a moment to give gratitude and accolade to all the Little Ripples teachers for all that they do. I certainly didn’t miss that moment when sitting on the ground listening to Haleyma.
And there’s more. I also learned from Haleyma that the attendance at Little Ripples is lower than usual. Even though it’s well into November, Haleyma reports that there are still many Little Ripples children who have not yet returned from their family’s farm. This isn’t surprising. Since the World Food Program drastically reduced the food rations for Darfur refugees, families have been forced to stay longer at their farms, a days walk away from Camp Goz Amer, cultivating what they can to sustain them for the months ahead. It’s a decision most of us will never need to consider: Do I feed my children or educate them? No parent should have to make that choice. It was a great feeling to be able to tell Haleyma that iACT will begin to offer a daily meal at Little Ripples. She gave me a big smile and said, “Very good!”
It will come of no surprise that I left my conversation with Haleyma feeling more confidant that Little Ripples will continue to create impact. Being here, I see it and I hear it, and I have no doubt that Little Ripples will slowly shift the way refugee educators and parents teach and develop their young children. For according to Haleyma, it already has.
Lastly, if you are considering donating on the annual day of global giving, #GivingTuesday, perhaps you’ll be inspired to support our meal program for the children of Little Ripples.