While we were observing the Academy candidates train, this little girl wandered over to us. You’ll see her try and touch Gabriel’s beard and inspect our soccer equipment. As she was doing this, we realized that she had some sort of intellectual or developmental disability. We don’t know what or why or how, but it breaks my heart to know that she may never receive any services to help her live her best life.
I turned around and saw the rest of our audience of children watching and observing the training. We’ve said it over and over again at iACT, but while I sat there and watched the children watching us, I was struck with the realization that all they’ve ever known is this refugee camp. They grew up recognizing humanitarian cars and the big blue letters of UNHCR, WFP, JRS, and others. It’s the norm to have trucks full of men with guns as camp security. To have to wait in line to receive food rations that never last long enough. To always be hungry. This is their normal. But I refuse to accept it as normal. It may be the status quo for now, but hungry children and generations living in refugee camps should never be our normal.