I have been a volunteer with iACT since 2006, am a current board member and advisor and have travelled to the camps as a team member. This organization is, hands down, the most trauma informed and relationship based model I have ever had the honor in which to participate. The work grew out of deep listening and a sense of trust in the communities impacted. iAct embodies a commitment to restorative practices, mutuality and communities of care in all of its refugee led programming whether in sports, education, mindfulness or leadership.
I went to a screening of the Darfur United documentary, which details the excellent work iACT is doing, in Hermosa Beach. I was floored by the grassroots-minded, self-sufficiency promoting work of this organization. They are entirely focused on their work, and show an obvious investment in building relationships in the Los Angeles community.
Iact's story begins with experienced international aid workers asking a remote and isolated refugee community, "What do you need?" The answer to this question, programs for the children, especially early childhood programs, informs everything the organization does and and HOW t does what it does. iact is impressive in its mission and methods of working closely with affected communities as its builds its programs. This, coupled with flexibility and a commitment to excellence at every level, characterizes the organization. As an early childhood educator, I have been impressed with the high level of attention to child-centered, developmentally appropriate programming, ever responsive to the ways to make it culturally relevant to the communities it serves. As a volunteer and mindfulness consultant, I feel incredibly privileged to work with iact in the service of their mission.
One of the things in my life I am most proud of is my role as a donor and volunteer Mindfulness expert at iACT. iACT is a wonderful organization for many reasons, foremost because their work at it's core is based in community and empowerment: their programs are co-created and refugee-led. It is an honor and privilege to be associated with their work.
iACT provides essential support, education, and leadership training to refugees with so much respect and tons of heart. The team is amazing and so dedicated. I'm honored to be a small part of the team through local volunteering.
The work that iACT does to help refugees touches my heart. As an early childhood educator, I know that the education of preschool age students is vital. This is such a critical, formative time in a child's life. iACT's Little Ripples early childhood education programs are filling a need in refugee camps in Chad and other countries, where such services have been non-existent. Children not only learn academics in a play-based, developmentally appropriate environment, but they also participate in mindfulness exercises, which can help them cope with their often challenging circumstances. Right now, iACT is working to fill a need left by food gaps. Refugee families have a very small ration on which to get their food each month. iACT is conducting a campaign now , #iACT4Meals, which aims to raise funds to fill the dangerous gap in food supplies for refugees.
iACT's programs also have at their core, the mission for their programs to be refugee-led. This may be where they differ from other programs, and why they are so successful. Refugee women become teachers and help prepare the food in the Little Ripples Ponds, and receive a salary for this.
In addition to working with very young children, iACT also runs sports programs, where refugee men, women, boys and girls all can learn about team work and leadership through playing soccer. Refugees United is an amazing team of athletes, and iACT is now ramping up programs to include even more women and girls in the programs. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that I know how dedicated and hard the small staff of iACT works, and their work is making a positive difference in the lives of so many refugees. That is why I act, and volunteer with iACT!
I have volunteered with iACT since 2011 which started with me, as a mother, trying to help my own daughters learn how to help others in need and learn to be compassionate. We found iACT to help us with my daughters soccer gear donations for the refugee children. Since then, with the "iACT way" which includes vision, action, empathy, fearless, forward and research-based-thinking, the impact that iACT has had on the local, national and most of all, the international communities is monumental and tangible. I am so grateful to be involved with everyone at iACT who pride themselves on creating, developing and achieving sustainable and reproducible programs to help people in need around the world (many of those people, male and female, that are forgotten by the international communities). This environment has fueled inventiveness and inspiration for everyone that is impacted by, volunteers and works for, and supports iACT.
I worked for two years in Sudan with the international community as it struggled to come to terms with the growing humanitarian crises on four different fronts from 2008 to 2010. We worked with a number of organizations and some of them had really high overhead and salaries in exchange for questionable results. When I learned about iACT I was thrilled to hear that a small start-up can, by design, maximize program results and efficiency while keeping costs low. I was honored when they asked me to join the iACT Board and assist with expanding their methods to more countries in Africa.
For over three years, I have proudly donated to iACT to support their mission of empowering and extending hope to individuals who have been affected by mass atrocities. Their innovative and compassionate approach to humanitarian action continually proves to be extremely effective because they listen to the needs and wants of the individuals in the camps. iACT works tirelessly and selflessly alongside refugees to meet both immediate long-term term needs.
I have donated and volunteered with iACT since 2005. As a donor you can be assured that the majority of money you give goes directly to the refugees. iACT has created programs (and continues to create programs) with the input and advise of the refugees. iACT's sports and education programs empowers the refugees and provides meaningful experiences for the children in the camps. To fund these programs they actively write grants, celebrate each year's success with their One Strong Kick annual fundraiser (this year is the 10th anniversary) as well as Day of the Girl events and iACT Gatherings. Another appeal aspect of iACT is activism, thanks to Camp Darfur, the Carl Wilkins Fellowship and numerous speaking engagements iACT has trained and inspired countless students and adults to take action and pursue careers in the human rights arena and beyond.
This is an amazing organization! iACT's work in partnership with refugees not only empowers communities, but it fosters hope and inspiration for those affected by mass-atrocities. As a volunteer, I have been able to see the dedication and heart of the organization from all those who are involved in iACT's work.
Incredible Organization. I have had the great pleasure to witness first hand the impactful and relentless work carried put by this Organization in so many projects. Their commitment to ongoing support through sustainable and life changing opportunities has made one of most noticeable impacts on the people they serve.
I-Act's understanding that everyone deserves a voice has formed an unmovable platform for their many projects, targeting support and commitment to those people who don't have the voice they deserve.
An organization of such effectiveness, reach and substance, especially in a world full of a large number of well-meaning NGOs, is very rare, and I am proud to have had the privilege of volunteering with them in various ways. I have seen how constructively and carefully iACT approaches devising programs and strategies, always keeping in mind the importance of empathy, being a genuine listener and ensuring long-term and empowering support that is catered to the needs of individuals. It is also heartwarming to see the friendships formed over the years between iACT team members and people in the camps.
Here's an NGO that has a genuine interest in making lives better by involving people they're trying to help as actively as possible. If you want to know your money is going towards causes with real impact, be sure to donate for iACT or make time available to volunteer.
I have been donating and volunteering for iACT because I can truly say that I have never seen an organization that walks the walk as they do. iACT accompanies the refugees in their struggles. They sit with them and share their open hearts and minds. They listen to their stories, and TOGETHER they have created amazing programs. The shining light in all this is that the refugees asked for these programs and they are trained to run and be a part of them. iACT understands that they already have the energy and brilliant minds and that they only need the tools to help them get going. I donate to this organization because I know that every penny is very carefully thought-out on how it will be used to benefit populations who are hungry for education and for bettering the lives of their children. I love this organization. iACT inspires me.
Throughout the years i-ACT has inspired me to become aware and educated about the plight of Refugees in Africa, specifically in the area of Sudan/Darfur where i-ACT has various programs in place to support, educate, inspire, uplift refugees living in the camps. They bring back their stories to help educate students and adults alike to continue their important missions. I recommend their non profit for volunteering, teaching students on the subject of genocide awareness, IDPs, what it means to be a Refugee and ways to get involved to make a difference directly.
I feel great about supporting iACT! Because of iACT, young children in refugee camps in central Africa have a wonderful preschool experience, through the Little Ripples program. The play-based curriculum provides a way for children to learn about peace-making and mindfulness. Because of iACT, refugee woman become trained as teachers, and can provide culturally appropriate curriculum. Besides Little Ripples, iACT facilitates many soccer academies in refugee camps, through the Refugees United program. This program helps refugees learn athletic skills and helps develop leadership skills. These two programs truly make a difference in the lives of so many refugees. I've met many of the iACT staff, and they are selfless, outstanding individuals who are the "real deal."
When donating to nonprofits we always want to see the results of our donations. It is amazing to see what iACT has accomplished by implementing educational and sports programs that enrich the lives of those most in need. I am committed to this nonprofit so they can continue their humanitarian work and continue to spread the word so that others can also contribute and make a difference.
Gabriel Stauring and iACT is inspiring a whole generation of young people to be a voice for the children of Sudan. This is our story.
In March 2015, Dominic saw me watching the movie "The Good Lie" on the plane, and he asked if he could watch it with me. We watched parts of the movie together. We had many discussions about the situation in Sudan.
I told him about Little Ripples Preschool project and iACT, and he decided that he wanted to write a letter to President Obama to ask him how he can help stop the war in Sudan. In his words: "Mommy, it's good to build a preschool for the children in the refugee camps but we need to do more. We need to stop the war in Sudan." He wrote the letter and checked the mail every day for months.
A few weeks later, we were walking down Kalakaua Avenue one evening when he saw a young man playing his cello and collecting money. That's when he got the idea to play his violin and collect money for the children in Sudan.
The first time he played for 90 minutes on Waikiki Beach front (outside the Starbucks on Kalakaua Ave), and he raised $78.70. In the Spring of 2015, he played on the streets of Honolulu and California (he was asked to move from Pier 39 because he didn't have a license!). For our Easter Chapel offering at 'Iolani School, Dominic was able to make an offering of $732 for Little Ripples.
This is how we change the world - one heart at a time. iACT is giving refugee children a chance at life. iACT also gave my child a chance to be a part of their work to change lives. Let's raise a whole generation of children who use their power for good in the world.
This nonprofit is committed to empowering refugees through education and sports. Their efforts have changed the lives for the better of many families that endure the almost unbearable consequences of genocide and refugee life.