Little Ripples refugee-led early childhood education

Organisation: Jesuit Refugee Service

Partners: iACT; University of Wisconsin Survey Center

Location: N’djamena, Chad

Type of grant: Core – implementation

Status: Ongoing

  • A Little Ripples student leads her class in a song at a Little Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • A Little Ripples teacher guides her students in outdoor play at a Little Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Free play with legos at a Littles Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Little Ripples teacher poses with the Little Ripples box of educational materials. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Small group learning at Little Ripples, refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • A Little Ripples teacher leading outdoor play in refugee camp Goz Amer. Photo Credit: iACT

  • A Little Ripples teacher leading children in a calming exercise in a Little Ripples in-home center, refugee camp Goz Amer. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Refugee women employed as Little Ripples teachers in refugee camp Djabal after completing Little Ripples Teacher Training

  • Our team including the Little Ripples refugee staff from refugee camps Goz Amer and Djabal who travelled to camp Mile to assist in implementing Little Ripples with a new community. Photo: iACT, refugee camp Mile, 2018.

  • This is part of the home space for one of the Little Ripples in-home centres in refugee camp Mile. It doesn’t look like much now, but soon, with help from the refugee community this home space will be transformed into a beautiful, colourful, and safe Little Ripples centre. Photo: iACT, 2018

  • Little Ripples staff from camp Goz Amer, Fatima (left), informing Amna (right), the mother and head of household about her new role and responsibilities in hosting a Little Ripples in-home centre! Photo: iACT, refugee camp Mile, 2018.

  • During teacher training, women work in small groups to create fun and engaging ways to teacher the Little Ripples program pillars of peace, helping, and sharing to their future students. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • A newly trained and employed Little Ripples teacher proudly holds the banner that will be displayed in her Little Ripples in-home center. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • 25 women who completed Little Ripples teacher training in refugee camp Kounoungou and camp Mile, eastern Chad. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • Two training participants demonstrating positive peaceful methods to address children who are disrupting the classroom.

  • Little Ripples Education Director Souad, in camp Kounoungou, eastern Chad. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • Little Ripples in-home centre with host family members and a teacher, in camp Mile, eastern Chad. Taken and sent by a refugee team member. May 2018

  • A group of students and teacher and during “classroom” time, during a Little Ripples school day in camp Mile, eastern Chad. Taken and sent by a refugee team member. May 2018

  • Two refugee assessment team members conducting outreach in camp Mile to ensure the attendance of children and caregivers for the Little Ripples baseline assessment survey. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • iACT Programs Manager, Felicia Lee, and refugee assessment team member, Souliman, working together to register children and caregivers for the Little Ripples baseline assessment in refugee camp Kounoungou. Photo Cred: iACT, 2018

  • Jesuit Refugee Service education staff, Rosine and Ana, helping coordinate the Little Ripples assessment process in camp Kounoungou. Photo Cred: Sara-Christine Dallain, iACT, October 2018.

  • iACT Executive Manager of Impact and iACT refugee Project Coordinator, working together to register children and their caregivers for the Little Ripples assessment. Photo Cred: Sara-Christine Dallain, iACT, October 2018.

  • It takes a team to coordinate effort between the refugee community, iACT and JRS to implement the Little Ripples assessment. Photo Cred: Sara-Christine Dallain, iACT, October 2018.


Little Ripples is a cost-effective early childhood education program that builds the capacity of refugee women to improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three to five through in-home, state-of-the-art, and customized education.

What is the humanitarian need being addressed?

Fifty-one percent of the 65.6 million people displaced globally are children. The disruption of families and community structure as well as the acute shortage of resources deeply affect the physical and psychological well-being of all refugees, but especially young children ages three to five. The future of these children will be shaped by their experiences in refugee camps or settlements, yet there are no sustained or prioritized innovative solutions for this vulnerable age group. Consequently, generations of children continue to be at risk of irreversible long-term damage as they fall behind in their educational development from the start.

What is the innovative solution?

Through a community-led approach and state-of-the-art curriculum, Little Ripples trains refugee women to provide quality early childhood education programming in their own communities. Unlike traditional education programs, Little Ripples is refugee-led, cost-effective, sustainable, and scalable:

  • Capacity-building: Little Ripples trains and employs refugee women to co-create, implement, and manage early childhood education in their communities.
  • Cost-effective: Little Ripples is uniquely hosted in the home spaces of refugees, eliminating costly and timely construction of schools and reducing distance of learning spaces from communities.
  • State-of-the-art and flexible curriculum: The curriculum is pre-established by global experts in early childhood development and adapted to the beneficiaries’ culture and context by the refugees themselves. It is designed to improve the social-emotional, cognitive and physical development of refugee children.

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcomes of implementing Little Ripples Ponds in refugee camps Kounoungou and Mile, eastern Chad, include:

  • Improve the social-emotional and physical development of refugee children.
  • Train, build the capacity, and employ refugee women, with the potential to scale-up.
  • Change the humanitarian refugee response from a top-down, one-size-fits-all model to customized, refugee-led programming focused on quality over quantity.
  • Influence Education Ministries and humanitarian agencies, such as UNICEF, to adopt or integrate components of Little Ripples curriculum.
  • Influence UNHCR policy, mandated programming, and budget to include early childhood education.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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