i-ACT has been working with Triangles of Truth for over two years. Their global network of students and advocates support education projects in the camp by honoring Holocaust victims. They caught up with Alexxa Evangelista, an outstanding Triangles of Truth advocate.
??What exactly are you fundraising for?
Since I was a little kid I’ve loved school and I’ve always been really involved in my community and helping others. I used to raise money for children to go to sleep away camp every year and this campaign let me continue that in another way. I just want to continue my passion for helping others and give them the opportunity to love school as much as I do.
How did you get involved?
?I got involved through my teacher Ms. Kay in my holocaust studies class at Boca High and it’s been an amazing ride this far.
What has been the reaction of the community??
In my community everyone has been really shocked not only at what a good cause this is but how big we are making it and how drastic the tragedies are in Darfur. It just shows how little people know about the fatalities over there.
Why is this a worthwhile cause for teens in Florida and elsewhere to partake in?
I think this cause shows teens everywhere that there’s something bigger out there and that it’s really the little things that do make a difference and can make someone’s life just that much better. It goes to show how little we can give here in our worlds to help others do so much more.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for others looking to start their?own campaign?
The only advice I have is to keep sending it out to anyone you can think of and try to get the best results as possible, not only in monetary form but in feedback and that in itself is the real success.
Over the last few weeks, tens of thousands of newly displaced refugees have arrived at the border between Darfur and Chad. Entire families have lived through unimaginable violence, the destruction of their homes, and a harrowing walk to relative safety.
Please send a message of support and solidarity to the mothers of Darfur by recording a short, personal message (2 minutes or less), speaking directly to a mother. You can create a “video response” as a comment to our youtube video or send your video link to email@example.com.
At the end of May, the i-ACT team is traveling to refugee camps in eastern Chad, where some of the displaced are being transported to. We will deliver your video-messages along with some supplies to mothers and their children.
You may also contribute to Care Packages of supplies that our team will purchase locally to give to the newly arriving mothers and their families.
On Wednesday April 17, i-ACT set up Camp Darfur at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, CA. Students from Martha Kermott’s sophomore class hosted each tent and the Little Ripples information table. During each period teachers of the Upper School visited the tents and learned from their peers about mass atrocities and genocide. Dr. Mike Riera, Head of School, wrote the following email to the entire Brentwood School community about the experience.
Letter of the Week: Unexpected Opportunity
by Dr. Mike Riera, Head of School
On Wednesday, I spent some time at the sophomore History Project: Darfur Refugee Camps. I circulated through the tents representing five different instances of genocide: Armenia, Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan. (See the article in Teaching and Learning for a more thorough description of the installation.) Listening to the presentations, viewing photos, and talking to our students moved me in a myriad of ways—anger, despair, sadness, shock, guilt, and outrage, just to name a few. There was a lot to take in.
The variety of these strong feelings permeated the inside of each tent. As students entered to hear the presentations, I watched their body language change from the typical adolescent stride to a retracted walk often seen when people enter a spiritual place. There was a kind of anxious reverence. When they exited the tents, their adolescent walk was slow to resume. As one would hope, their feelings and questions lingered, and it showed.
As I paid attention to students describing the various genocides, I heard a vulnerable and humbled quality in all of their voices. Whether they were describing the event or reading a first hand account, all were visibly shaken by what they were saying. Just as powerful were the reactions to the photos hanging on the walls—images of people who had lived and died in the various camps. The power of the material quite simply cut through the typical adolescent defenses and self-consciousness.
Over the course of the day I spoke with students about their various responses to Camp Darfur. They were quite similar to my own. More impressive, however, was how articulate they were in how they related these experiences to the human condition, power and influence, leadership, group think, and a myriad of other nuanced emotions and concepts. They were maturing right in front of me.
When people ask me what is special about Brentwood, besides the outstanding academics and teachers, I frequently cite the additional focus on the development of emotional intelligence. In my mind, Camp Darfur is one of those clear-cut examples of emotional education in process.
In their groundbreaking 1990 article, Emotional Intelligence, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer defined emotional intelligence as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” These skills were on display during Camp Darfur. From presenters self-monitoring their content based on peer responses; to students ability, upon reflection, to identify their various and subtle emotions; all the way to using this information to refine and deepen their attitudes on a host of issues, including their own identities. It was profound to see this emotional growth-spurt in action.
Emotional intelligence is not a subject like math or Spanish, rather it frequently exists in the spaces between content. It can be mined and brought into the light of day for clarity or it can be left to go unnoticed and ignored. At Brentwood this aspect of learning is intentionally mined for all its potential, like what happened earlier this week at Camp Darfur.
Have a great weekend.
Thank you Brentwood School and Martha for partnering with i-ACT year after year to raise awareness and funds for Darfuri-led projects in the refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border.
i-ACT first met Djabal’s librarian in January 2008. Gabriel was filming in a classroom and he asked if there were any students who wanted to sing a song. Rahma’s hand shot up in the air. He first sang his version of B-I-N-G-O, and his second number had a little dance. In this video Rahma shares his story, and you can even watch him sing and dance:
Year after year we have returned to Camp Djabal and watched Rahma grow. He has graduated from Primary School (through Level 8 in his refugee camp), and takes what classes are available for Secondary school. He still wants to be President of Sudan, but is also interested in being a Journalist. Upon learning that he was selected to be the Right to Education Mobile Human Rights Librarian, he shared his thoughts and gratitude:
Rahma took great pride in being the R2E Librarian. We were all saddened to hear that this hut had burned, and all his possessions and the library destroyed. We received this video in December 2012.
The refugee community came together to help rebuild Rahma’s hut, and several individuals and communities in the U.S. have given to help him replace his personal belongings. Most recently, on January 29, Human Rights Watch Student Task Force chapter at Wildwood School in Los Angeles launched a Change for Change drive to raise enough funds to replace the entire Djabal R2E Library. i-ACT and all the refugees in Camp Djabal are very grateful for their efforts and we look forward to learning who the winning class will be!
Pam Omidyar, Founder of Humanity United, traveled to Eastern Chad with i-ACT’s Director, Gabriel Stauring, to visit Darfuri refugees and talk about education and more. She met up with Rahma, and she has a message for ‘Iolani School in Hawaii.
For more on the preschool program Pam, i-ACT, and the refugees are working on, visit: littleripples.org
As the new school year begins across the United States and in the Darfur refugee camps in Eastern Chad, our i-ACT team is busy revamping and launching new programs!
Partnership with Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program
|This year i-ACT and the Darfur Dream Team will be partnering to develop new resources that teachers, schools, and clubs can use to educate their communities while continuing to fundraise for primary school education in refugee camps Djabal and Goz Amer. Currently there are over 325 schools supporting twelve refugee schools. The U.S. students and teachers use pazocalo.org to develop deep and meaningful relationships with their peers in the camps.|
|Little Ripples, i-ACT’s early childhood education program, is really lifting off the ground! Alongside basic cognitive development, the program will focus on peace-building and compassion. We hope to launch the pilot phase in early 2013 for 400 students in Camp Goz Amer. In the meantime, we will conduct a baseline study, start construction, and begin outreach to potential teachers. Our team of mostly volunteers has created a solid curriculum and continues to look at models and resources for inspiration. Download this presentation or visit the Little Ripples webpage to find out more.|
|After an extremely busy Spring which saw the first ever Darfur United goal at the Viva World Cup for nationless people, our players have returned to their camps. Our next step is establishing the Darfur United Academy. Many of the original team players have started to teach their peers and younger players what they learned from Coaches Mark, Ben, and Brian. Check out the Darfur United Academy overview and ways to support it! Additionally, we have limited edition ‘M Haggar’ jerseys to honor the goal scorer – get yours today!|
Right to Education Mobile Human Rights Library
|The R2E library took a break from rotating between schools over the summer, which is the rainy season in Chad. Rahma and Umda Tarbosh will continue to tour the library between schools once school resumes in October for at least a year. We are looking for schools, libraries, and other groups to help keep the library running and to bring more Kindles to the camps. Please contact Katie-Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!|
If you are interested in getting involved in any of our projects, please contact us. Email Katie-Jay at email@example.com. Our team of global volunteers is always looking for more dedicated members!