#WeAreDarfur: Peace, Helping, and Sharing

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What can I teach them about peace, helping, and sharing? As I’m sitting in a training with twenty-nine Darfuri refugee women, I am hit with the absurdity that I—Gabriel coming from the beaches of Southern California—am presenting to them—young women that as girls saw their homes destroyed, family and friends killed, and escaped to become refugees with nothing but what they had on their backs—about the core values of peace, helping, and sharing.

These three values are the pillars for our Little Ripples (LR) preschool program. The LR teachers will be sharing and practicing the pillars every day with their students. They are trained to use storytelling and play to bring peace, helping, and sharing alive and make it a part of their daily lives—hopefully for the rest of their lives!

I’ve done the pillars talk multiple times now, and I’ve made a mental pause each time when I’m about to start. As I’m looking at the women sitting in our circle, I see strength, wisdom, and passion. I think about what their eyes must have seen: some of the most unimaginable horrors by man on fellow humans. And yet, they are caring, compassionate, and loving.

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So what can I teach these women? The answer is nothing. I cannot teach them anything about peace, helping, and sharing. What I do instead is give examples of those same values that I’ve seen over and over in all of my trips to refugee camps up and down the Chad-Sudan border. I tell the story of how families welcome us, laying out a mat, bringing us tea, and offering food. This from families that sometimes don’t know where the next meal will come from.

I tell of how I’ve heard from them that they would go back tomorrow and live in peace next to the people that attacked them if there were security and justice. I tell the story of visiting a young refugee mother who told us that she had no food at all at home at the moment. In disbelief, I looked in her mud kitchen and confirmed that there was absolutely nothing. I asked her, “How will you survive?” As we were talking, a young girl walked into the woman’s little home compound with a bag of sorghum on her head. The young mother told me, “This is how we survive, from neighbors caring about each other and sharing during difficult times. When I have more, I will share with others.”

We then talk about activities that can be done with the kids, and how to recognize when children are living the pillars—and celebrate it. I am beyond grateful for all I have learned from the refugees about peace, helping, and sharing. It is a privilege to be working next to them on making sure that their children have more and more of all three.

Peace, Gabriel #WeAreDarfur

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Help support sports and education programs for refugees living in eastern Chad and other refugee communities!

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refugees from Darfur, Sudan, living in refugee camps located in Chad.

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A mosaic of people that calls for open arms in welcoming and supporting refugees everywhere.

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current capacity at the RUSA academies

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#WeAreDarfur #earlychildhoodeducation #Femaleempowerment #LittleRipple