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#WeAreDarfur: Participating

After eleven straight days of visiting and working in refugee camps, we have only two more to go. I am tired from the marathon of activity, but I’m also proud of the impact we’re having. Because of the collaborative work being done during this trip, hundreds of children more will have a safe, joyful place where they can learn and even thrive.


Today, I was sitting with my friend Oumda, our Refugee Camps Coordinator and a refugee leader, and we talked about all those children that are now a part of Little Ripples and the Refugees United Soccer Academy. On any given week, approximately 5,000 children are taking part in the programs that the refugees and iACT—in partnership with Jesuit Refugee Service—have created. And we’re only getting started. By the end of 2017, our goal is to double that number and to keep going after that.


The iACT team is much bigger than the six full-time USA-based staff and the over 100 refugees that are employed throughout the programs we support. We also have an amazing, dedicated, and passionate group of volunteer teammates. They offer top level talent, effort, and expertise that iACT could never pay for. They do it because they feel a sense of responsibility and want to be a part of creating positive change—and yeah, making the world better.


And there’s more to the team. From even before our first trip to refugee camps in 2005, a loving community of people somehow connected with our work and, no matter how crazy or impossible what we set out to do seemed, they supported financially—with a little or alot—and allowed us to jump in and, as Joseph Campbell would say, “participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”


After twenty-six trips, there is still too much sorrow here and in other places. Through our work, we are learning that we can create spaces that also allow us to participate joyfully in the joys of the world, even in a refugee camp. We are committed to increasing the joy.


Peace, Gabriel #WeAreDarfur


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