A Child’s Right to Early Childhood Education in Emergency Contexts
As part of The Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights, Vol 7 No 1 (2020): Respecting Children’s Rights in Schools (pages 241-262), this paper presents an early childhood education model that upholds a child’s right to education in one of the world’s most vulnerable and forgotten communities: a refugee camp. iACT, a non-governmental organization, works directly with refugee beneficiaries to establish, adapt, and implement Little Ripples, an early childhood education program—laying the foundation for a lifetime of well-being, learning, health, and peace for children affected by displacement and violence. This paper explores how iACT invests in the capacity of refugee community members to provide an early learning program that exceeds global standards for child-friendly spaces and the nurturing care model by prioritizing children’s rights.
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Toward the end of January, iACT’s program associate Julia and I traveled to Chad to connect with our teammates living in the Darfuri refugee camps located in the eastern part of the country. We were there for a couple weeks, and the camps we stopped in were Am Nabak, Touloum, Iridimi, Djabal, and Goz Amer. We refer to this trip as “iACT33” because members of the iACT family, starting with our founder Gabriel Stauring, have now gone to Chad 33 times. Gabriel’s first trip was in 2005, and Katie-Jay later joined him for several visits.
By the afternoon, the consensus was encapsulated by what one humanitarian worker in Bangui told us, “This is CAR. It is always high risk.”
Teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining the quality of education.